Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Big Bopper

Lee May, who will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame this weekend along with Tom Browning and Tom Seaver, just missed playing for the Big Red Machine.

But, had May not been traded, the Reds might never have emerged as baseball's juggernaut in the 70's.

On November 29, 1971, May was dealt to the Astros in exchange for future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan, and other Big Red Machine stalwarts Jack Billingham, Cesar Geronimo, Ed Armbrister and Denis Menke.

During an interview yesterday at the Reds Hall of Fame for my weekly column, May spoke of the trade and what might have been:

"I have no animosity toward the Reds, they started me on my way," he said. "We had an abundance of power. That was the thing to do, go down and get some speed. And, they got Joe Morgan."

May also offered another theory about the trade, which resulted in moving his good friend Tony Perez back to first base:

"I always told Tony, 'the reason they traded me was to get you off third base', you were horrible over there'," May said laughing.

May hit .274 with 147 home runs and 449 RBI in seven seasons with the Reds.

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