This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History: December 23rd, The Great Sam Leever Leads the Way

Six former Pittsburgh Pirates born on this date, including one of their best pitchers ever. Before we get into them, catcher Roberto Perez turns 34 today. He played for the 2022 Pirates until he was injured early in the season. As of this writing, he was a free agent, who had interest in re-signing with the Pirates at one point. He will get a full bio in next year’s article, assuming he’s a former player at the time.

Sam Leever, pitcher for the Pirates from 1898 to 1910. He didn’t make the majors until he was 26 years old, but he stayed around Pittsburgh long enough to be considered one of their best pitchers ever. On the Pirates all-time list for pitchers, he ranks fourth in ERA with a 2.47 mark, tied for second in wins with 194, sixth in both innings pitched (2,660.2 IP) and games started with 299. He ranks fourth in complete games with 241, and second in shutouts with 39. He won 20 games four times, and three times led the National League in winning percentage. He helped the Pirates to four pennants from 1901 to 1909. He had just one season in which his ERA was over 3.00, and that was during his first full season. The Pirates were his only big league team during his 13-year career.

Leever made his first mark in pro ball in 1897 for Richmond of the Atlantic League, where he had a 21-18 record in 316 innings. He was 25 years old at the time, spending his earlier years as a school teacher, while playing club ball for Cincinnati amateur teams. He spent 1896 playing for Clarksville in the Blue Grass League, which was an independent minor league at the time. Former Pirates catcher Billy Earle (1892-93) discovered Leever and moved him from the amateurs to pro ball. That one minor league season in Richmond was enough to get him a look with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Earle’s own scouting report of Leever at the time said that he plenty of speed, commanded his pitches, and “he had plenty of baseball pluck and gameness”. The Pirates purchased his contract on September 15, 1897, and he joined the team the following spring. He was with the club early in the year before returning to Richmond on June 1st, then rejoined the Pirates in mid-September. Leever played just five games total for the Pirates, but he had a 2.45 ERA in 33 innings and earned a job for the following season. Leever went 21-23, 3.18 in 1899. He threw 379 innings, a workload total he never came close to matching in any of his other seasons (his second highest was 284.1 innings in 1903). His record was below .500 and the Pirates played just above .500 for the season (76-73), but his ERA was 43 points lower than the team’s average (that includes his own ERA bringing that number down). That 3.18 ERA was over 30 points higher than his second worst season ERA during his career. He led the league with 51 games pitched (39 starts) and had a career high 35 complete games, which included four shutouts. His 121 strikeouts that year were a career high, though he also set a high with 122 walks.

The Pirates improved with the additions of Honus Wagner, Fred Clarke, Deacon Phillippe, Claude Ritchey, Tommy Leach, Rube Waddell and others from the Louisville club in December of 1899, and that in turn helped Leever. He went 15-13, 2.71 in 232.2 innings during his first season with that group, completing 25 of his 29 starts. That record improved to 14-5, 2.86 in 1901 when the Pirates won their first National League  pennant. He pitched 176 innings that season, completing 18 of his 20 starts, while leading the league with a .737 winning percentage. His seasons was limited due to an injury suffered when Christy Mathewson hit him with a pitch. He actually pitched a few games after the injury, but after going 14 innings on July 12th, Leever didn’t pitch again until early September. The Pirates were even better in 1902, and they are considered to be the best team in franchise history with a 103-36 record.  Leever was a big part of that success, going 15-7, 2.39 in 222 innings. He completed 23 of 26 games, and he tossed four shutouts. The 1903 season was his best in the majors, and he helped the Pirates to the first World Series, although he was dealing with a sore arm during the World Series and struggled in his two starts, taking the losses in both games. The regular season was great though, as he finished up with a 25-7, 2.07 record in 284.1 innings. He led the league in ERA, winning percentage (.781) and shutouts with seven, which was his career best. He completed 30 of 34 starts.

Leever went 18-11, 2.17 in 253.1 innings in 1904, while completing 26 of his 32 starts. He then went 20-5, 270 in 229.2 innings in 1905. It was the third time that he led the NL in winning percentage, finishing with an .800 mark. He completed 20 of 29 games, including three shutouts. Leever went 22-7, 2.32 in 260.1 innings in 1906, while throwing six shutouts. He completed 25 of 31 starts, while also pitching five times in relief. Pittsburgh went 93-60 that season, yet they finished in third place, 23.5 games behind the record-setting Chicago Cubs. His best season might have been the 1907 campaign when he had a 1.66 ERA in 216.2 innings. That ERA was only the fourth best in the NL that season, though the other five spots in the top six in ERA that year belonged to Chicago Cubs pitchers (they had a team ERA of 1.73 that year!). He had a 14-9 record that season and threw five shutouts, which means that he was 9-9 when he didn’t throw shutout ball. His 1.05 WHIP that season was his career best. Leever went 15-7, 2.10 in 192.2 innings in 1908, with 20 starts, 18 relief appearances, 14 complete games and four shutouts.

Leever was limited in 1909 due to a very strong pitching staff ahead of him, but he still pitched well when called upon. He was 8-1, 2.83 in 70 innings over four starts and 15 relief appearances. The Pirates won their first World Series that year, but he did not make an appearance in the postseason. He finished up his big league career with a 6-5, 2.76 record in 111 innings in 1910. He made eight starts and 18 relief appearances that season. He had a salary dispute going into 1911 and the Pirates gave him his unconditional release on April 27, 1911. Leever then played a bit of minor league ball in 1911 and briefly in 1913, before retiring. He was also a manager during the 1913 season. He went 7-4, 3.67 in 125 innings in 1911 for Minneapolis of the Class-A American Association, which was the highest level of the minors at the time. As a manager of Covington/Kansas City of the Federal League in 1913, he made three pitching appearances, throwing a total of seven innings. His 194-100 record gave him a .660 winning percentage, which is second best among all Pirates pitchers with at least 50 wins.

Sam Frock, pitcher for the 1909-10 Pirates. He began his pro career in 1905 at 22 years old, pitching for Concord in the Class-B New England League. The next two seasons were spent in the same league, playing for Worcester. While the stats are limited from that time, we known that he debuted with a 19-9 record, then followed it up with a 20-7 record over 31 games in 1906 and a 23-12 record in 36 games during the 1907 season. He won those 23 games before joining the Boston Doves (Braves) in late August 1907, where he went 1-2, 2.97 in 33.1 innings over five games, three of those as a starter. Despite the nice MLB debut and three strong seasons in the minors, he returned to the minors for the entire 1908 season. For Providence of the Class-A Eastern League that year (highest level of the minors at the time), he went 24-14 in 47 games, pitching 325 total innings, while finishing with 149 strikeouts. The Pirates purchased his contract on August 23, 1908 from Providence, after Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss personally went to see him pitch. He was purchased that same day by Dreyfuss, though Frock remained with his minor league team through the end of the season, so he didn’t appear in a game for the Pirates until the following season.

Frock was a seldom used reserve for the 1909 Pirates, making just four starts and four relief appearances all season. The team had a deep pitching staff, with seven quality starters who combined to go 107-40 that season. He went 2-1, 2.48 in 36.1 innings, and he did not appear in the World Series. He was traded to the Doves on April 28, 1910, along with first baseman Bud Sharpe, for pitcher Kirby White. In his lone appearance for the 1910 Pirates, Frock allowed four runs over two innings, though just one run was earned. Boston was a very poor team in 1910 (53-100), and he got plenty of time on the mound, going 12-19, 3.71 in 255.1 innings over 29 starts and 16 relief appearances. He had 13 complete games and two shutouts. He was back in the minors for good in 1911, after posting a 5.63 ERA in 16 innings during the first month of the season for Boston.

Frock only had 15 wins in his MLB career, but he was quite an accomplished minor league pitcher, winning 203 games. He had four 20+ win seasons. Part of his later minor league success came from dropping down in competition. He went to Baltimore of the Class-A International League in 1911, while also seeing time with Atlanta of the Class-A Southern Association. It’s interesting to note that Boston sold him to Atlanta for $2,000, despite the fact that he wanted to play for his hometown Baltimore team. He failed to win a single game for Altanta, going 0-6 with 30 runs allowed in 37 innings, and then ended up at the same level with Baltimore, where he had a 14-8 record. Frock threw 247.1 innings total during the 1911 season. He struggled in brief time with Baltimore in 1912, going 1-3, with 24 runs allowed in 28 innings. Just one year after his last big league game, he was playing out the 1912 season in the Class-B New York State League, three levels from the majors. He remained in that league until the 1918 season when he moved up to Double-A for his final season. Frock split the rest of the 1912 season between Utica and Wilkes-Barre, compiling a 6-9 record.

Frock went 16-15 in 36 games for Utica in 1913. His 1914 stats with Utica show that he won 17 games and he pitched 279 innings over 34 games. The next season saw him go 16-8 in 29 appearances during his first of four seasons with Binghamton (stats are very limited from this time). He went 16-18 in 1916, then improved to 21-6 during the 1917 season. Binghamton switched to the Double-A International League in 1918, putting him at the highest level of the minors during his final season. Frock went 9-9 in 22 games during the war-shortened season. He’s also credited with spending some time playing for Nashville of the Class-A Southern Association that season. He managed for at least one season in the minors (1922) after his playing career ended, piloting two teams that year in the Class-D Eastern Shore League. His final big league stats show a 15-23, 3.23 record in 343 innings, with 37 starts, 26 relief appearances, 20 complete games, three shutouts and three saves.

Albert “Cozy” Dolan, outfielder/third baseman for the 1913 Pirates. He debuted in pro ball at 22 years old in 1905, playing in the Class-D Wisconsin State League, where he spent his first three season, mostly playing in Osh Kosh. Stats aren’t readily available for those years, though we know that he hit .233 with 13 doubles and seven triples in 118 games during the 1906 season, which he split between Osh Kosh and LaCrosse of the same league. He then hit .230 in 111 games for Osh Kosh in 1907. Osh Kosh moved to the Class-D Wisconsin-Illinois League in 1908, and he batted .248 in 443 at-bats, with 68 runs scored. He stayed in the same league with a team from Rockford in 1909, and hit .334 in 76 games. That led to a shot with the Cincinnati Reds, where he played three late season games, going 1-6, with two runs and two walks. Dolan, who was called Alvin back then (modern sources say Albert), already had the “Cozy” nickname before joining the majors (see below for details). He was scouted by Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, and joined the Reds on August 2nd, yet he played just three of the final 64 games.

Dolan was with Denver of the Class-A Western League (highest level of the minors at the time) in 1910, where he batted .296 in 153 games, with 33 doubles, 13 triples and 18 homers. He played for Jersey City of the Class-A Eastern League in 1911, where he hit .260 with 34 extra-base hits in 146 games. He joined the New York Yankees in September of 1911 and hit .304/.385/.377 with 19 runs and 12 steals in 19 games. Despite that success, the Yankees gave up on him after just 18 games in 1912. Dolan hit .200/.273/.317 with 15 runs and 11 RBIs during that time, so while he didn’t hit well, his offense was timely. It was said that a bad spiking during Spring Training limited his effectiveness overall. He spent the majority of the 1912 season with Rochester of the Double-A International League, where he posted a .354 average and 38 extra-base hits in 120 games. At the end of the 1912 season, he joined the Philadelphia Phillies, where he hit .280/.294/.400 in 11 games.

Dolan opened the 1913 season with the Phillies and hit .262 in 55 games, though low walk/power numbers led to a .567 OPS. He was acquired by the Pirates from the Phillies on August 22, 1913 in exchange for Bobby Byrne and Howie Camnitz. The Pirates also received cash in the deal. Dolan was just 23 years old at the time of the trade and both Camnitz and Byrne were star players on the downside of their careers. The two teams were playing a doubleheader right before the trade was made between the two managers of the clubs. Pirates manager Fred Clarke said that he needed a speedy infielder and he believed Dolan could soon be among the best defensive third basemen. In the last 35 games of that 1913 season Dolan hit .203/.289/.271 with 22 runs, seven extra-base hits, nine RBIs, 15 walks and 14 stolen bases. Shortly after the 1913 season ended, the Pirates traded Dolan to the St Louis Cardinals in an eight-player deal that went horribly wrong. The Pirates gave up five players, including first baseman Dots Miller, to get first baseman Ed Konetchy, who was the centerpiece in the deal. Miller finished fourth in the National League MVP voting, while Konetchy jumped the Pirates to go to the Federal League after one season. Dolan ended up as a regular in the Cardinals lineup and he had his two best seasons in the majors, while seeing significant time at four different positions. He batted .240 in 126 games in 1914, with 76 runs scored, 23 extra-base hits, 32 RBIs, 42 steals and 55 walks. He hit .280 in 111 games during the 1915 season, with 53 runs scored, 25 extra-base hits, 38 RBIs and 17 steals.

Despite the 1915 season being his best year, Dolan ended up in the minors for the next three years. He played for Indianapolis of the Double-A American Association during the 1916-17 seasons, which was the top level of the minors at the time. He hit .284 with 27 doubles, 14 triples and three homers in 142 games in 1916. He followed that up with a .269 average in 127 games in 1917, with 13 doubles, 13 triples and seven homers. Dolan hit .246 in 62 games with Milwaukee of the American Association in 1918. He had 30 runs, 11 steals and 30 walks. He was a manager in the minors in 1919 for St Joseph of the Western League, then coached with the New York Giants from 1922 to 1924. During that 1922 season, seven years after his last big league game, he appeared as a pinch-runner on July 7th in an 18-inning game against the Pirates. That was his last appearance in pro ball. He was a .252 hitter in 379 big league games spread out over seven seasons, with 210 runs scored, 70 extra-base hits, 111 RBIs and 102 stolen bases. Dolan got the nickname “Cozy” the 19th century way. There was a player named Patrick “Cozy” Dolan, who played nine years from 1895 until 1906. Whenever a player came along with the same last name as someone before him, he was likely to inherit that player’s nickname. You can find numerous instances throughout the early years of baseball, including four Buck Freemans. Dolan’s baseball career ended unfortunately when he reportedly suggested a player take a bribe at the end of the 1924 season. He was banned from baseball and never returned.

Shawn Chacon, pitcher for the 2006-07 Pittsburgh Pirates.Chacon was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in third round of the 1996 draft out of high school in Greeley, Colorado, which is approximately one hour away from Coors Field, home of the Rockies. Despite going to high school so close to his hometown team, he was actually born in Alaska, one of just 12 Major League players born in that state. He split his debut season between the Rockies rookie level Arizona League team and Portland of the short-season Northwest League, posting a 6.86 ERA in four starts for Portland, after having a 1.60 ERA in 56.1 innings over 11 starts in Arizona. He moved up to Class-A Asheville of the South Atlantic League in 1997, where he went 11-7, 3.89 in 162 innings, with 149 strikeouts.The 1998-99 seasons were spent with Salem of the High-A Carolina League. He made 12 starts each year, posting a 5.30 ERA in 56 innings in 1998, followed by a 4.13 ERA in 72 innings the next season. That season ended early when he was suspended for the rest of the season in mid-July. Chacon pitched the entire 2000 season with Carolina of the Double-A Southern League, where he went 10-10, 3.16 in 173.2 innings over 27 starts, with 172 strikeouts. After four starts in Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League to begin the 2001 season, he debuted in the majors on April 29, 2001 for the Rockies. He went 6-10, 5.06 in 160 innings over 27 starts, with 134 strikeouts during his rookie season. Those innings and strikeouts totals ended up being his career high

Chacon made 21 starts in the majors in 2002, and another four in Colorado Springs, where he had a 4.79 ERA in 20.2 innings. For the Rockies that year, he had a 5-11, 5.73 record in 119.1 innings. He went 11-8, 4.60 in 2003, while pitching 137 innings over 23 starts. He made his only All-Star appearance that season. He was 11-4 at the All-Star break, then made just six starts after the mid-season classic, losing all four decisions. He missed the last six weeks of the season with elbow tendinitis. Chacon moved to the bullpen full-time in 2004, where he became the closer. He had 35 saves that season, but it came with a 1-9, 7.11 record in 63.1 innings over 66 games. He didn’t have any big implosions that season, though he did allow runs in nearly half of his outings. Chacon then went back to the rotation in 2005, only to get traded to the New York Yankees at the 2005 trading deadline. Before the deal, he had a 1-7, 4.09 record in 72.2 innings. After the deal, he went 7-3, 2.85 in 79 innings. He went through a rough patch to start the 2006 season in New York. Despite a 5-3 record, he had a 7.00 ERA in 63 innings over 11 starts and six relief appearances. That year he was hurt by two rough games, with identical outings in which he went 1.1 innings and allowed seven earned runs each time.

Chacon came to the Pirates in the middle of the 2006 season from the Yankees in exchange for Craig Wilson. His actual time with the Yankees was one year and three days. He was put right into the starting rotation for the Pirates, where he went 2-3, 5.48 in 46 innings over nine starts. Chacon moved to relief for the 2007 Pirates, making 60 appearances out of the bullpen, while getting just four starts. He went 5-4, 3.94 in 96 innings. He left via free agency after the season and moved on to the Houston Astros the next year, but a physical confrontation with the GM ended his year early and finished his big league career. He was released by Houston in June of 2008, after going 2-3, 5.04 in 85.2 innings over 15 starts. Chacon split 2009 between Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League (Oakland A’s) and Newark of the independent Atlantic League. He went 8-4, .629 in 73 innings for Sacramento, and 3-3, 4.29 in 42 innings over seven starts with Newark. He finished with a 45-61, 4.99 record over eight seasons in the majors, with 922 innings pitched. He made 134 starts and 135 relief appearances. He failed to complete any games, and he finished with 36 saves, with 35 coming during the 2004 season.

Rick White, pitcher for the Pirates from 1994-95, then again in 2005. White began his 12-year big league career with the Pirates, four seasons after they drafted him in the 15th round of the 1990 amateur draft out of Paducah Community College at 21 years old. He debuted in pro ball in short-season ball, playing in the Gulf Coast League and the New York-Penn League during that 1990 season. He had an 0.76 ERA in 35.2 innings in the GCL, followed by a 3.26 ERA in 38.2 innings in the NYPL with Welland. He racked up 70 strikeouts in 74.1 innings that season. White went 6-7, 3.70, with 88 strikeouts in 109.1 innings during the 1991 season, splitting his time between Low-A Augusta of the South Atlantic League and Salem of the High-A Carolina League, with better results at the lower level. He went 7-9, 3.80 in 120.2 innings over 18 starts with Salem in 1992, then moved up to Carolina of the Southern League for the rest of the year, where he had a 1-7, 4.21 record in ten starts. He had 115 strikeouts in 178.1 innings that season. White went 4-3, 3.50 in 69.1 innings over 12 starts for Carolina in 1993, then had a 3.54 ERA in 28 innings for Triple-A Buffalo of the American Association. The entire 1994 season was spent with the Pirates. He went 4-5, 3.82 during his rookie season, pitching a total of 75.1 innings over five starts and 38 relief appearances. The next year he made nine starts and six relief appearances, going 2-3, 4.75 in 55 innings, while spending half of the season back in Triple-A, with Calgary of the Pacific Coast League. He had a 4.20 ERA in 79.1 innings with Calgary.

The Pirates let White go in December of 1995, but he quickly re-signed on a minor league deal. He had reconstructive elbow surgery earlier in December and there was a chance that he could miss the entire 1996 season. He ended up making it back before the minor league season ended, though he was limited to 18.1 innings over five games. He made three appearances in the Gulf Coast League, then got roughed up in two games with Double-A Carolina, allowing eight runs in 6.1 innings He was let go after the season ended and signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1997, though he spent that entire season in Double-A Orlando of the Southern League. He went 5-7, 4.71 in 86 innings. The Devil Rays didn’t play their first big league game until 1998, so the only way he would have made the majors that year was if someone else acquired him. White made it back to the majors in 1998 after nine Triple-A starts with Durham of the International League, where he had a 4.22 ERA in 53.1 innings. He went 2-6, 3.80 in 68.2 innings over three starts and 35 relief appearances for Tampa Bay that season. He had a 5-3, 4.08 record in 108 innings over 63 games (one start) in 1999. The Devil Rays traded him to the New York Mets during the 2000 season. White combined to go 5-9, 3.52 in 99.2 innings over 66 appearances, with 44 of those games coming before the trade. With the 2001 Mets, he had a 4-5, 3.88 record in 69.2 innings over 55 games. He signed a free agent deal with the Colorado Rockies for 2002, but he finished the year with the St Louis Cardinals after being released in early August. He had a 6.20 ERA in 40.2 innings over 41 games with the Rockies, and an 0.82 ERA in 22 innings over 20 games with the Cardinals.

White signed a free agent deal with the Chicago White Sox in 2003, but he finished the season with the Houston Astros after being released in early August (nearly the same date as his release one year earlier). He had a 6.61 ERA in 47.2 innings in Chicago, followed by a 3.72 ERA in 19.1 innings with Houston. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the 2004 season and made six appearances with Triple-A Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League, before he was traded to the Cleveland Indians. He went right to the majors after the deal, and managed to stay there for the entire season. After going 5-5, 5.29 in 78.1 innings over 55 relief appearances with the 2004 Indians, the Pirates signed White as a free agent. He went 4-7, 3.72 in 75 innings over 71 appearances in 2005, all out of the bullpen. After leaving the Pirates via free agency for the second time, White split the 2006 season between the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, going 4-1, 5.15 in 64.2 innings over 64 games. He then split the 2007 season between the Seattle Mariners and the Astros, struggling for both teams. He finished with a 7.79 ERA in 34.2 innings, while also playing briefly in the minors for both teams. In his career over 12 seasons, he went 42-54, 4.45 in 858.2 innings over 18 starts and 595 relief outings. He had 16 saves spread over six different seasons, topping out with six saves as a rookie with the 1994 Pirates. White is one of two players to wear uniform number “00” with the Pirates. Pitcher Joe Page in 1954 was the other.

Dave May, pinch-hitter for the 1978 Pirates. He had a nice 12-year career in the majors, but his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates consisted of only five plate appearances, all as a pinch-hitter. May began his career by signing with the San Francisco Giants at 17 years old in 1961. He debuted in pro ball the next season and it took him five years to make the majors, playing his first game while with the Baltimore Orioles on July 28, 1967. His first season was spent in the Class-D Appalachian League, where he hit .379 with 53 runs, 23 extra-base hits, 41 RBIs and a 1.018 OPS for Salem. The Orioles acquired him from the Giants in the first-year draft after the 1962 season. He split the 1963 season between two Class-A teams, playing for Fox Cities of the Midwest League and Stockton of the California League. May combined to hit .293 with 62 runs, 37 extra-base hits, 37 RBIs, 27 steals, 60 walks and an .838 OPS in 111 games. He spent the entire 1964 season with Fox Cities, batting .368 in 122 games, with 111 runs scored, 26 doubles, eight triples, 14 homers, 74 RBIs, 36 steals, 67 walks and a 1.011 OPS. He played for Tri-City of the Class-A Northwest League in 1965, hitting .335 in 139 games, with 129 runs scored, 24 doubles, nine triples, 23 homers, 105 RBIs, 32 steals, 98 walks and a .995 OPS.

May moved up to Triple-A Rochester of the International League in 1966 and hit .274 in 119 games, with 55 runs, 25 extra-base hits and 34 RBIs. His .736 OPS was 259 points lower than the previous season. He improved the next season in Rochester, hitting .317 with 17 doubles, 11 homers and an .876 OPS in 93 games, before making his big league debut in late July. With the Orioles that season, he hit .235/.286/.306 with one homer and seven RBIs in 36 games. May batted .310/.406/.478 in 31 games with Rochester in 1968, then spent the rest of the year in Baltimore, where he hit .191 with 15 runs, nine extra-base hits (no homers), seven RBIs and a .555 OPS in 84 games. He spent the entire season in the majors in 1969, mostly coming off of the bench. May hit .242/.305/.367 in 131 plate appearances over 78 games, with eight runs, six doubles, three homers and ten RBIs. The Orioles went to the World Series that season, though he played just three postseason games and pinch-hit each time, going 0-for-2 with a walk. It ended up being his only postseason time in the majors. He was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers on June 15, 1970. May combined to hit .236 in 125 games that season, with 42 runs scored, eight doubles, eight homers, 37 RBIs, 48 walks and a .658 OPS.

May played 144 games in 1971, putting up a .277 average, with 74 runs scored, 20 doubles, 16 homers, 65 RBIs, 15 steals, 50 walks and a .769 OPS. The next year saw him bat .238 in 143 games, with 49 runs, 31 extra-base hits, 45 RBIs and a .646 OPS. He had some trouble in the stolen base department that year, going 11-for-24 in steals. His best season came with the Brewers in 1973, when he hit .303 with 96 runs, 23 doubles, 25 homers, 93 RBIs and an .824 OPS, while making his only All-Star appearance. He also finished eighth in the MVP voting, the only time that he received MVP votes. May hit .226 in 135 games during the 1974 season, finishing with 56 runs, 15 doubles, ten homers and 42 RBIs. His .598 OPS was a drop of 226 points versus the previous seasons. His time with the Brewers ended with a trade on November 2, 1974, and it made him a household name at the time. He was sent to the Atlanta Braves, along with a player to be named later, in a trade for the great Hank Aaron. That was just seven months after Aaron set the career home run record. In his first season in Atlanta, May hit .276 with 28 runs, eight doubles, 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 82 games. He played more in 1976, but things didn’t go as well. He hit .215 in 105 games, with 27 runs, five doubles, three homers and 23 RBIs. He had an .854 OPS during his limited time in 1975, but his OPS clocked in at a .609 mark in 1976. In December of 1976, May was one of five players and cash traded to the Texas Rangers for Jeff Burroughs. In 1977, May hit .241 in 120 games for the Rangers, with 46 runs scored, 14 doubles, seven homers and 42 RBIs.

May began the 1978 season as a member of the Rangers. Before he played a game for them, he was sold to the Brewers, where he hit .195/.296/.325 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 39 games. The Brewers then sold him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in September to help with their playoff push. The original deal was either the Brewers get a player to be named later, or the $20,000 waiver fee. He went 0-for-4 with a walk as a pinch-hitter during his short time in Pittsburgh. That was the end of his big league career, though he played a year in the minors before retiring. The Pirates released him unconditionally on October 10, 1978. May played for Santo Domingo of the Inter-American League in 1979, where he hit .265 with seven extra-base hits and nine RBIs in 44 games. He played a total of 1,252 Major League games, hitting .251 with 462 runs scored, 130 doubles, 96 homers and 422 RBIs. His son Derrick May spent ten seasons in the majors, mostly with the Chicago Cubs.