Speaking December 12th was Rudy May, a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1965 to 1983 for the California Angels, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos.
Rudolph May, Jr. (born July 18, 1944) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1965 to 1983 for the California Angels, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Montreal Expos. May was noted for possessing a very good curveball. May was the 1980 American League ERA leader.
May played high school baseball at Castlemont High School in Oakland, California. One of his high school teammates was future Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan. Signed by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent in 1962, May was one of the last players in Major League Baseball to be exempt from the later adoption of the Major League Baseball draft. He pitched in 32 games for Class A Bismarck-Mandan, with 11 wins and 11 losses, pitching 168 innings in 24 games. He chose not to re-sign with Minnesota.
In 1963 May was selected first in the 1963 First Year draft by the Chicago White Sox. He pitched over 300 innings in 1964, split between the Single-A Tidewater Tides and Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, with 17 wins and 8 losses in 207 innings in 30 appearances.
After the 1964 season, May was traded by the White Sox to the Philadelphia Phillies for catcher Bill Heath and a player to be named later (Joel Gibson). The Phillies then traded May to the California Angels for pitcher Bo Belinsky.
May made his Major League debut against the Detroit Tigers in 1965 pitching for the Angels. He pitched 9 innings, giving up one run and one hit, while striking out 10 and walking 5, throwing 139 pitches, and received a no-decision. May appeared in 30 games for the Angels in 1965. May pitched in the Angels minor league system between 1966 and 1968, and appeared in 45 games over three seasons. He won 18 games and lost 10, in 248 innings.
May returned to the Major Leagues for good in 1969 with the Angels, and appeared in 200 games between 1969 and the beginning of the 1974 season as a starter and reliever. Over 1013 innings, May posted a record of 47 wins and 67 losses with California.
Halfway through the 1974 season, May’s contract was purchased by the New York Yankees, and was an important part of the Yankees’ staff until 1976. He posted 22 wins and 16 losses in 326 innings over 49 appearances with the Yankees.
Two years to the day after he was acquired by New York, May was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in a 10-player swap. The Yankees traded Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor and Dave Pagan to Baltimore for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Elrod Hendricks, Ken Holtzman and Grant Jackson. May appeared in 58 games posting a record of 28 wins and 21 loses over 403 innings with the Orioles.
On December 7, 1977, May was traded to the Montreal Expos, along with Randy Miller and Bryn Smith for Joe Kerrigan, Gary Roenicke and Don Stanhouse. May pitched primarily out of the bullpen for Montreal and recorded 18 wins and 13 losses, appearing in 49 games and recording 237 innings.
May re-signed with the New York Yankees on November 8, 1979. During the 1980 season with New York, May led the American League with an ERA of 2.46, which was his best career mark. Through his final four seasons in Major League Baseball, May won 28 games and lost 27.
When May was 17 he enrolled in an underwater diving program. After completion of the course, May was a certified diver.