The New Castle [Delaware] native and William Penn High graduate who played 12 seasons of major league baseball died Saturday. May, who was living in Bear, had been battling cancer.
But before he departed, sons Dave Jr., now a Toronto Blue Jays pro scout, and Derrick, the St. Louis Cardinals minor league hitting coordinator, marveled at the outpouring of affection that accompanied his final days.
“The last week he got so many phone calls,” said Derrick, who played 10 major league seasons himself. “I never realized how many people he’s impacted, not only around here but people in baseball. Dusty Baker called and Cito Gaston, Willie Horton, Ralph Garr and all these people called just to help him out. He and Johnny Briggs were best friends for 40 years.”
May spent part of the 1963 season and all of the 1964 season in Appleton with the Foxes. At the time, Fox Cities was affiliated with the Baltimore Orioles.
May had an amazing season with the Foxes in 1964 to help them win their first Midwest League Championship. He led the Midwest League in hitting with an average of .368. That average is still an Appleton Professional Baseball record. He also hit 14 homers, drove in 74 runs, stole 36 bases, and had an OPS of 1.004 in 518 plate appearances over 122 games.
It should not be a surprise that May was named the MVP of the Foxes in 1964
In the one game playoff against the Clinton C-Sox in 1964, May went 3-5 and scored a pair of runs in an 8-5 Foxes win. Flashback Friday covered the 1964 Championship Game in Clinton last November.
The Milwaukee Brewers picked up May in a trade during the 1970 season and he was an early star on those Milwaukee teams. May was an American League All-Star in 1973 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
He was traded to Atlanta after the 1974 season for Hank Aaron and spent a few years in Atlanta. May would go on to Texas and return to the Brewers for a brief time in 1978. Here are his Baseball Reference pages: Majors | Minors.
He was a fun player to cheer for on those early Brewers teams. So was his friend Johnny Briggs:
“He was a good guy, a good friend, somebody you could talk to about anything,” said Briggs, now 68 and living in his hometown of Paterson, N.J. “He didn’t like arguing. I didn’t like arguing. He had a great attitude. He was never the type of guy who was patting himself on the back all the time. Guys liked him because of who he was. He performed on the field and he patted everybody on the back.”
After his playing career, May coordinated officials for New Castle County Parks and Recreation’s sports leagues and also worked for House of Flowers doing arrangements and deliveries. But he could often be found watching a youth baseball game, standing along a fence, regaling in conversation.
Sympathies to his family and if they happen to read this, Dave May is remembered fondly in Appleton.
Thanks to Brew Crew Ball for sharing this news in Tuesday’s Frosty Mug or I would have missed this.