Milt May

February 3, 2017

milt-mayThis is important. It is my all-alliterative M team, featuring both Milt May and his father, who went by the name Pinky while with the Phillies from 1939 through 1945 but whose given name was Merrill:

P) Mike McCormick
C) Milt May
1B) Mark McGwire
2B) Marty McManus
SS) Marty Marion
3B) Merrill May
LF) Minnie Minoso
CF) Mickey Mantle
RF) Manny Mota

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got to say. What use are words anyway?

Well OK, one other thing: I find it interesting that after Milt May was traded from the Pirates to the Astros, he was swiftly replaced on the Pirates’ roster by a fellow catcher with an even briefer name: Ed Ott. It seems cruel on the part of the Pirates, as if they wanted Milt May to feel like the extra two characters in his first name were a pretentious extravagance. Maybe this was even a negotiation point between the team and May before the team decided to sever ties.

Pirates: Look, we might be able to keep you around if you shortened things up to Mi.

May: Mi?

Pirates: Or Lt [pronounced ult, like you’re cartoonishly displaying gulping trepidation]. Mi, Lt. Whichever you want.

May: I’m not sure how this—

Pirates: Look, cards on the table time: We’ve got this bruiser down at triple A who doesn’t need to be sashaying around with a lot of extra letters in his first name like some eighteenth century dandy.

And so that, I assume, is how Milt May came to be wearing brilliant, ridiculous clothing on this 1976 card. He seems distinctly unsure about his technicolor dreamsuit, or perhaps about some other inexplicable cultural eruction of the era. That’s the thing about the past. For us it’s all over and done, but when people were living through it they couldn’t see how it was going to turn out. We’re always thinking we’re living through the most difficult, most doubtful time. It’s true, but it’s always been true.

February is usually for shit, is what I’m getting at. This one fits the bill. It rained on Inauguration Day and was sunny the next, when we took a CTA bus downtown and wedged into the middle of 250,000 people fused together by an idea along the lines of Fuck. This., and since then it’s been for the most part like a cold gray lid has come down over everything. So for the sake of keeping my own beleaguered inner light from extinction, I’m going all Astros all month. Whatever happens, I’m making it through to the other side and will be doing so by carrying an Astro in my pocket. If you see me, know there’s a rainbow on my person and disjointed digressions from reality in my mind. That’s what I’m carrying.


  1. I was surprise at how long Mi May played. Also, where is the DH? Maybe a closer or Righty/Lefty starters just for more alliterative fun? As usual, good stuff!

  2. I’d like to see Melvin Mora get some playing time at third base, and it’s likely only a matter of time before Manny Machado takes over at shortstop.

  3. Thomas Desmidt; May played so long that he ended up coming back to the Pirates after his replacement, Ed Ott, had gone into coaching (Ott doing so presumably so as to be onfield when Rob Dibble needed to be put in a chokehold).

    Another May tidbit: He didn’t even play for the Astros in 1976 but played for the Tigers; his last game that year, in which he broke his ankle, was Mark Fidrych’s first (the Bird entered in relief, after May had been dragged off to the hospital, and surrendered the game-losing hit).

    Jason Lukehart: Yes, of course to both Melvin Mora and Manny Machado. They were hindered in terms of inclusion on this list because of my dim awareness of anything in the world after about 1983.

  4. Awesome! Thanks for the tidbits. Like minds think alike, As usual, your post had me on BBREF for an hour. I did notice that May made back to the Pirates and surprised to see that he was a slightly above average player with 16.5 WAR in a 15 year career. Like you, I had all of these cards pre-1983 and I never would have considered May for any of my Strat line-ups with catchers like Bench, Fisk, Simmons, et al of the 70’s and early 80’s.

  5. Hope you take some #WalletCard photos with your Astros this month!

  6. Future Hall of Famer (hopefully) Mike Mussina could rack up some innings for you as well.

  7. Yes, Mussina is definitely a glaring omission from the list.

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