Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vintage Fridays: Lee May, 1980 Topps #490

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.


jacobmrley said...

i was out at camden yards last saturday (watching my mets beat your O's) and i was distressed at the state of your team. it looked less than lifeless. jones and markakis showed no patience at the plate, you have julio lugo and ceasar izturas getting at bats, weiters showed a great arm, but none of the swing i saw last year. i cannot remember when a group of young players showed so much promise and then just collapsed without injuries being the culprit. your team should be making the noise tampa or at least toronto is, not threatening to lose 120 games. i have never felt more sorry for a fanbase than i did while leaving the other night, because that team should be better and you guys have suffered long enough. martsz looked great btw, it was the bullpen that blew the game...

Commish said...

Hard to disagree. I've been an O's fan since 1960 and I can never remember being this discouraged. I've seen some pretty bad O's teams along the way but those were teams I expected to be bad. I knew there was no pennant in the cards for 2010 but I sure thought we'd show improvement, show that the organization was moving in the right direction. I find myself forgetting about them, I hadn't even looked to see who we were playing this weekend. NEVER remember being that apathetic before. Maybe for awhile after the strike season but that was a different sort of apathy. This is sad.

Kevin said...

Max - Thank you for your sympathies. We're like the Red Sox fans pre-2004, only with much less self-indulgent whining.

Bob - I'm teetering on the brink too. I'm trying (and failing) to at least see the humor in the possibility of this team being the worst of all time.