During the 1965 season, Lee May was a 22-year-old first baseman at AAA San Diego, the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Reds. He did everything he could to get noticed by the big league club, swatting 34 home runs and driving in 103 while batting .321. He also had 32 doubles, amassing a lofty .586 slugging percentage. These feats did earn him a five-game cup of coffee at the end of the year, but he received only seven at-bats (all as a pinch hitter) in the first month of the following season. He failed to get a hit in his limited opportunities and was sent back to the minors, this time to the less exotic locale of Buffalo. Lee was brought back in September and caught fire, hitting safely 25 times in 68 at-bats for the remainder of the season (.368). With that he was in the big leagues for good, hanging around until 1982 - long enough to hit 354 home runs. He topped 20 longballs in all 11 of the seasons in which he received at least 500 at-bats.
The story of Lee May seems like the kind of cautionary tale that Orioles fans should keep in mind during this flaming hellscape of a season. Many of us are panicking because the young players who were supposed to improve and flourish this season took a step backwards instead. Brian Matusz has been winless for two months now (not entirely his own fault), Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman have been dropped from the rotation for the time being, Matt Wieters is short on power and average, and Nolan Reimold is struggling to hit his weight at AAA Norfolk. Sure it's distressing that all of this has happened at once, and it underscores the point that there are many more Alex Ochoas in baseball's history than there are Lee Mays, but it's still early in the careers of these young men. It's getting later all the time, but there's nothing you or I can do. Let the chips fall where they will.