Jakie May (TRADING CARD DB)

Jakie May

This article was written by Darren Gibson

Jakie May (TRADING CARD DB)In Game Four of the 1932 World Series — the last major league game of his 14-year career — he struck out Babe Ruth two consecutive times. A decade earlier, he won 35 games in one (very long) minor league season. Later a tobacco farmer and the best player to ever hail from Wendell, North Carolina, Jakie May, a 5-foot-8, rotund, and left-handed “Wee Carolinian,” is quite the jolly story from over a century ago.

Frank Spruiell May was born on November 25, 18951 in Youngsville, North Carolina to Jordan E. May, a market clerk and later a sawmill owner, and Letitia F. (Harris) May. Frank had a younger sister, Edna. The May family moved to Wendell when Frank was 12 years old. Jordan May had been a baseball pitcher in his younger days and was a great hunter, a hobby he passed down to his son.2

Young Frank played sandlot ball, and later joined the Wendell amateur team in 1911, coached by catcher W. Lawrence “Rube” Poole, also the owner of the Golf Leaf Farmer, a regional tobacco industry paper. On July 3 May allowed only four hits, pitching “a great game,” in a 16-0 thumping of Zebulon (North Carolina).3 He then dropped a decision to the same Zebulon team, 5-2, on July 16. May had by now earned the nickname “Jake” from his teammates for his ability and personality.

Back with Wendell for 1912, May tossed a three-hitter in defeating Clayton 3-1 on July 2. May allowed but two hits in a 3-2 victory over Wakefield on July 10, then won a split home-and-away doubleheader over the same Wakefield squad, 3-2 and 9-2, on July 12. He allowed only two and three hits, while striking out 12 in the nightcap.4 One of May’s teammates was Fred “Snake” Henry (who would play briefly with the Boston Braves in 1922-23, and whose mother had sewn the team uniforms5).

Manager Poole soon recommended May to Earle Holt, former University of North Carolina baseball star and current manager of the Oak Ridge Military Academy. May played for Oak Ridge for two years. In 1913, May struck out 13 batters in a 11-1 one-hitter over the Liberty Piedmont Institute (Wallburg, North Carolina) on March 22. May and Oak Ridge bested Weaverville College 8-7 on April 25 as Oak Ridge closed out their season.6

Once the collegiate season completed, May returned to the local amateur Wendell team. He beat the Raleigh B.B.B.’s (Better Business Bureau) 11-0, collecting 16 strikeouts in the effort.7 May spread himself out even further, later starting for Raeford (North Carolina) against Latta (South Carolina) on June 6.

Heading into 1914, May, back at Oak Ridge, faced the University of North Carolina on March 17.8 He struck out 13 in a 3-1 defeat of Weaverville College on April 2.9 Later in April, young May struck out 17 batters, including the side in the 17th inning, as Oak Ridge battled the minor league Charlotte Hornets of the North Carolina State League to a 17-inning, 2-2 tie.10

When Oak Ridge’s season ended, May landed with the Newnan (Georgia) Cowetas of the Class D Georgia-Alabama League, playing for player-manager and ex-St. Louis pitcher War Sanders. In his professional debut, 18-year-old May fanned 13 visitors, including three in the ninth, to win, 5-3, over Rome, in front of 2,500 fans.11 May quickly became the Cowetas’ ace. The Anniston (Alabama) Star noted that when “Newnan wants to win a game very badly, they send May into the box and put another win in their column. This kid is the premier hurler of the Georgia-Alabama league.”12

However, young May also had a wild side on the hill, including walking 11 batters in a 5-0 loss on August 3 to the Selma (Alabama) Centralites.13 Still, in mid-August May won his 20th game in a span of just over three months. The Anniston Star groused about May, who beat the local Models four times: “We cannot understand why he has not been grabbed by someone higher up. He is undoubtedly out of the class of the Georgia-Alabama league in the pitching goods.”14

Young May owned a “peculiar delivery that bothers all the hitters.”15 It was a submarine, side-armed motion. May, “master of the curve ball, often seemed to be throwing the ball verily from the ground.”16

In 1915, May played for the Macon Peaches in the Class C South Atlantic League, posting a 12-8 record, as Macon fell to Columbus in the Sally League championship. Two days later, May was back in North Carolina, finding time to slide into a game once again for Wendell, playing outfield and pounding out a single, double, and homer against Spring Hope in the Central Amateurs league on July 30.17 Heading into August, May, the “boy wonder” of the South Atlantic League, signed with Suffolk in the Class C Virginia League, reuniting with his friend Snake Henry.18 May had a 1-4 record during his short tenure in Suffolk.19

In the off-season before 1916, May signed with the Salt Lake Bees of the Pacific Coast League. However, he never showed up in Utah, so he was quickly released on March 17.20 Instead, he latched on with the in-state Asheville Tourists of the Carolina State League. Unfortunately, May started only one game for the Tourists before he suffered an appendicitis attack in July, and returned to his hometown of Oak Ridge, North Carolina.21

May recovered and began the 1917 season with San Antonio Bronchos of the Class B Texas League. Jake kicked the season off strong for San Antonio with an April two-hitter against Galveston.22 He later crafted a three-hit shutout against Waco, 1-0, on June 18.23 As of that date, May led the Texas League with 88 strikeouts, and had beaten Shreveport four times, although he also lost to Dallas five times.24 May posted only an 11-12 record for San Antonio, but had a solid ERA of 2.84. He was sold in late June 1917 by San Antonio to Branch Rickey and the St. Louis Cardinals for $750. The Cardinals needed the help. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch announced that May “will report today and he will not wait long for a trial. The Cubs come tomorrow for a series of five games in three days, and unless the unexpected happens, the Cardinals will use everybody but (local donut maker) Herman Seekamp … before this series is over.”25

May’s major-league debut came on June 26, in a seven-inning second game of a doubleheader against the Cubs. May pitched the final two and two-thirds innings, allowing one run on two hits and three walks, in the Cardinals 8-6 defeat. May didn’t post any decisions in his 14 relief appearances. He was given a start by manager Miller Huggins on the last Wednesday of the season, September 26, against the New York Giants. It was a great start for young May, who tossed eight innings, allowing only an unearned run on four hits, in an eventual 12-inning win for St. Louis. Still, the Cardinals went 2-13 in May’s 15 appearances on the season, as they finished in third place with an 82-70 record.

May broke camp with the Cards for 1918. Now referred to mostly as “Jakie,” May posted a 5-6 record, allowing 69 walks and a league-high 13 hit batsmen in 152.2 innings. His major league season ended on July 31, as May became the first major leaguer to obey to the government’s World War I “work-or-fight” command, opting to enlist at Great Lakes and play on the Navy wartime baseball team.26

With the end of World War I in November 1918, May rejoined the Cardinals. Before the season, he also found time to get married. He wed Blanche “Honey” Wilson Stowe (1900-1996) on March 13, 1919, back near home in Beaufort, North Carolina. Jakie was 23 years old while Blanche was 19 at the time of their wedding.

Jakie’s wildness on the mound persisted in 1919. He walked a league-high 87 batters and hit 14 others in 125 2/3 innings, to accompany a woeful 3-12 record in his 19 starts. He walked six in a May 11 loss to Cincinnati, 6-0. On that day he was the victim of a no-hitter by the Reds’ Hod Eller.

May’s 1920 season in St. Louis wasn’t much better. He posted a record of 1-4 while walking 37 batters in 70 innings over only 16 games. His only victory finally came on August 28, a 5-4 win against Philadelphia, in the last game he would pitch that season. He pitched so sparingly for the Cardinals that on at least one occasion during the season he threw for the Mount Vernon (Illinois) Car Dealers in the local semipro circuit.27

Still, heading into the 1921 season, there was optimism that May had a good chance to finally make a difference in St. Louis. A writer for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it this way:

Of the other three 1920 regulars, Jakie May is the brightest prospect. Poor Jakie has had a rocky road to travel. On the verge of being released several times, the butt of jokesmiths, the victim of one of the toughest characters in the National League, Lee King, of the Giants, who sought to humble Jakie with his knuckles because the North Carolinian made a boob out of him at the plate, May has stuck to the task, and may receive his reward this season.28

May split two of the seven intra-city games with Urban Shocker and the St. Louis Browns before the 1921 regular season,29 winning 3-2 on April 3 and losing a nail-biter, 1-0, three days later. Once the regular season began, May bested Rube Marquard and Cincinnati 6-1 on April 19, throwing a complete game the day after being pulled from his previous start in the second inning.30

Alas, after walking 12 batters in 21 innings over five starts, May caused manager Rickey to become “discouraged over the wildness of the young southpaw with the effective curve and let him go.”31 In May, he was sent down to Syracuse Tigers of the Class AA International League. His first game back in the bushes was successful as, even with five walks and two hit batters, he defeated Rochester 8-5.32 In his second start for the Tigers, May’s “unsteadiness” — six walks — was his undoing in a 7-2 defeat to Tom “Shotgun” Rogers and Buffalo.33 By July, May was demoted again, to the Beaumont Exporters of the Class A Texas League. May finished with an 8-8 record for the Exporters, who finished in seventh place.

At the beginning of 1922, May was traded by Beaumont to the Venice Tigers of the Class AA Pacific Coast League for Scotty Alcock and Frank “Stump” Edington.34 Every National League team had waived its right to claim May before the trade. Still, at least some viewed this as a long-term chess move by ex-Cardinals and now New York Yankees manager Huggins, opining that “if Jake shows well with Vernon this season his graduation to the Yankees in the fall is regarded as assured.”35

May showed well, alright. In front of 15,000 patrons, Jake May began his PCL career for Vernon (formerly Venice) with an opening day 3-1 victory on the road against the Seattle Indians, allowing only an unearned run on five hits.36 “Joker Jake,” a moniker he picked up on the West Coast, suffered a separated shoulder in May, costing him four weeks.37 Then, in early June, he nearly cut off the index finger of his pitching hand while sharpening a knife.38 In the same month, he and Honey celebrated the birth of their first child, June Elizabeth “Ruth” May, born in Los Angeles on June 22.

Once back on the bump out west, May lost 7-0 to the Los Angeles Angels on July 19, the Seraphs tenth win in a row.39 Nonetheless, by August 25, May owned an outstanding 23-8 mark for manager Bill Essick’s squad. The odds were that he “looks like a sure thing for the big tent next season,”40 i.e., a return to the majors.

On September 14, May improved his record to 30-9 with a win over Sacramento Solons.41 Three days later, “without working up a sweat,” May won his 31st game, 5-1, again over Sacramento.42 May continued his “extraordinary” season into October, as Vernon fought the San Francisco Seals down to the wire, before eventually falling by four games. 43 May won 35 games for Vernon, including 12 out his last 13 decisions. It was the most wins in any professional league since Walter Johnson won 36 games for Washington in 1913. It broke the PCL record of 33 wins in a 30-week season, set by Salt Lake’s Cy Williams in 1915. May “could possibly have won 40 games had he not missed a month of the season.”44 He became the second PCL player to win the pitching Triple Crown, with 35 wins, 238 strikeouts, and a 1.84 ERA.45 He also led the league in winning percentage (.795), and shutouts, with seven.46

Heading into the 1922-23 off-season, May was the “most talked about southpaw in baseball.” It was also widely believed he would end up in the Bronx, as the New York Yankees had a “working agreement with Vernon that gives the Yankees first shot.”47 The Chattanooga News wrote that “May, a big league discard two years ago, suddenly becomes the most sought-after pitcher in the minors. You never can tell in baseball.”48

The Yankees, and business manager Ed Barrow, offered $100,000 in cash and players to Vernon for May’s services, but the Yankees were not willing to trade the players sought by Vernon.49 Therefore, May returned to Vernon.

But the baseball gods giveth and they taketh away: In 1923, May led the PCL in losses with 22, while winning 19.

Before the 1924 season, May pitched three games for the Almendares club of the Cuban National League,50 alongside his old Wendell buddy Snake Henry and future Red Sox pitcher Oscar “Lefty” Fuhr.51 May faced competition such as Bill Holland, famous Negro League pitcher, and the mighty Santa Clara Leopards.52

Back in the States, the Yankees were once again courting May; however, after being thwarted yet again, they turned their efforts to signing Earle Combs.53 On January 19, 1924, Cincinnati sent infielder Walt Kimmick. pitcher Frank “Cactus” Keck, and $35,000 to Vernon for May.54 May signed his contract in late February, and headed to the Reds’ spring training in Orlando, Florida.55 He followed in the footsteps of another Reds lefthander from North Carolina, Rube Benton. Unfortunately, upon arrival in Orlando, May announced that he had injured his pitching hand on briars while hunting back home.56 May later developed a sore arm during the 1924 season. Still, he finished 21 games, most in the National League, with six saves and an ERA of 3.00 over 99 innings for the fourth-place Reds. In 1925, May recorded an 8-9 record and 3.87 ERA over 137 1/3 innings.

Before the 1926 season, it took May a while to round into form because “he had taken on about a ton of weight and it took him a long time to get into condition.”57 Nonetheless, he went 13-9 on the season, striking out 103 batters, while improving his control, allowing only 44 walks in 167 2/3 innings. One highlight on the season was a complete-game five-hitter to beat Dazzy Vance and the Brooklyn Robins, 3-1, on August 26. Unfortunately, May’s season ended on September 6 when he got spiked by the Cubs’ Cliff Heathcote while covering first base. “The spike wound the left hander received in yesterday’s game was more serious than at first believed, examination disclosing a badly cut tendon.”58 It was unfortunate, because “May, who up until this year was pretty much of a fizzle, has southpawed his way to 13 wins, while good support should have given him one or two more wins, instead of defeats.”59

For 1927, May owned a 1-4 record heading into June yet ended up posting a 15-12 mark for manager Jack Hendricks. He started 28 games, the most of his career. He pitched “the best game of his long and honorable career”60 on June 14, blanking the Boston Braves, 1-0, on four hits with nine strikeouts.61 May built a six-game winning streak in July and early August. He crafted a three-hit shutout, 5-0, over Chicago on September 2.62 He beat the last-place Philadelphia Phillies five times.

May ended up second on the Reds in wins, behind Red Lucas’s 18. He led the team with 44 appearances, 121 strikeouts, and 70 walks. He also led the entire National League with 14 hit batsmen and eight wild pitches. It was observed that “his curves were as baffling as a cross-word puzzle in the Chinese language.”63

May was late in reporting to the Reds’ spring training in Orlando before the 1928 season due to his mother’s illness. His first appearance came on April 30. His finest performance was a shutout of the Giants on five hits on June 10 at Polo Grounds in front of 40,000.64 But May later became ill, and again got a sore arm, curtailing his usage in the fall. He didn’t pitch after August 4, closing with a 3-5 record and 4.42 ERA in just 79 1/3 innings.

A terrific writeup that received national syndication in the off-season before 1929 helped personalize May further:

Jakie May is almost as broad as he is high, and yet has a loose and whip-like left arm dangling from that bulk with which he can snake a most deceptive ball across the plate…Jakie is a philosopher and takes the hard luck with all the cheerfulness he can muster … The chunky southpaw with the magic arm that is nearly always ailing. He is a dancer and debonair fat man and has a fetching smile. As a coon hunter he has few rivals and no superiors in the land. Jakie has 22 dogs — count ‘em. He uses some of these dogs to hunt the rabbit, the wolf, and the bird, but most of them he uses with soulful unction to hunt the festive coon.65

Early in the 1929 season, the local Cincinnati Enquirer quipped that May was “wilder than the turkey which roam the woods near his North Carolina home” in giving up six runs in the first inning on May 6 at Ebbets Field against Brooklyn.66 The same article also lamented that “Jakie seemed to know no more about the position of the rubber than a frog does about airplanes.” Later in the season, May rebounded to beat the Phillies on five hits on August 5. He ended up with a 10-14 mark for 1929.

In 1930, the “rotund pitcher and last of the Cincinnati Reds’ holdouts, (was) back in the fold”67 after reporting late to the Reds spring training site in Orlando, Florida. Still, May earned a berth in the Reds rotation to begin the season. But it was an awful season for May, as he registered a 3-11 record with a 5.77 ERA. Shortly after the season, Cincinnati sold May to the Chicago Cubs.

May’s first year in Chicago, 1931, was an improvement. He earned the win on May 15 by pitching the final two innings and starting the winning rally in the ninth with a leadoff double. He eventually scored on Kiki Cuyler’s game-winning single. Unfortunately, May was injured in an auto accident in Chicago on June 13, suffering “a slight concussion of the brain and lacerations on head and face.”68 It cost him a month off the diamond. He ended up with a 5-5 record for year, as the Cubs finished in third place for player-manager Rogers Hornsby.

May was used exclusively as a reliever by Chicago in 1932, the only year in which he didn’t start at least one game. May threw a lot, although it didn’t always show up in the box score. It was claimed that May “probably held the bullpen record for hurlers…Jakie warmed up every day last year but pitched only 54 innings…They estimate that he hurled at least 75 games in the bull pen.”69 May actually only appeared in 35 games. Manager Hornsby was replaced in August by Charlie Grimm, who steered the Cubs to a 37-18 record down the stretch. The Cubs won the National League pennant by four games over the Pittsburgh Pirates, thus earning a trip to the World Series to face the New York Yankees.

May didn’t see the mound in the first two games in the Bronx, both of which were Yankees victories. With the Series now shifted to Chicago, Game Three was the Babe Ruth’s famous “Called Shot” game. Even May himself, years later, asserted: “Despite what some say, he really called it.”70 Ruth and Lou Gehrig had each belted two home runs off Cubs starter Charlie Root, including Ruth’s celebrated clout, by the time May entered the game in the top of the eighth inning. May coaxed Ruth to ground into a double play to end the top of the eighth, before surrendering an unearned run on two errors in the ninth. The Yankees won 7-5.

The next day, in Game Four, May replaced Chicago starter Lou Warneke with no outs and two on in the top of the fourth inning and the home Cubs clinging to a 4-3 lead. May proceeded to get Joe Sewell to pop up, then struck out Ruth looking on three pitches, before retiring Gehrig on a first-to-pitcher groundout. After getting Frank Crosetti to ground into a double play to end the top of the fifth, May and the Cubs held onto their one-run lead.

In the top of the sixth, a one-out walk to Earle Combs, followed by a Sewell double, brought up Ruth again. Manager Grimm elected to not walk Ruth with first base open. The gamble paid off, as May again struck Ruth out. May “was a sort of a hero, for a moment, by fanning the Babe a couple of times, on three pitches each time.”71 Grantland Rice commented that the “portly May” bested the “great Ruth twice in succession and this for the 50,000 Cubs rooters was the only jewel left in the toad’s head of defeat.”72

That strikeout ended up being May’s last one in the major leagues. Gehrig followed Ruth with a two-run single, scoring both runners. The Cubs tied it in their half, but then, in the seventh, “the Yankees smash began. They blasted Jakie May, a veteran southpaw, out of their path”73 collecting four more runs, capped by a Ruth RBI single in the Bambino’s last World Series game. May was saddled with the loss as the Yankees went on to a 13-6 victory and a four-game Series sweep.

After the 1932 season, the Cubs were “unsatisfied with their southpaw department.”74 The World Series defeat convinced manager Grimm that “if he won another (National League) pennant, he could scarcely hope to capture a world’s series without a regular left-hand pitcher.”75 But he evidently decided May was not that left-hander; the Cubs released May in the off-season. As a player with at least 10 years of major league service, he was considered a free agent, thus able to sign with any major or minor league team. Although there were discussions, May did not sign with anyone, so he went back to his farm in Wendell.

Once the season began, however, he made his way back to Chicago, hopeful of being re-signed, throwing batting practice to the Cubs in the interim. Finally, after three weeks of dickering,76 May signed with Nashville Volunteers of the Southern Association and manager (and former Reds teammate) Charlie Dressen on July 4.77 His short time in Tennessee was not successful. On August 6, May was touched for four runs on eight hits in four innings in a 12-4 loss to Little Rock. This would be May’s last professional appearance. Three days later, the Volunteers waived him.78 The Nashville Banner commented that “asking waivers on Jakie May was anticipated. He was around as a Vol for more than a month and never won a game. He never finished a game.”79

For his major league career, May ended with a 72-95 record, along with a 3.88 ERA spanning 1,562 1/3 innings.

May again returned to Wendell, making one more run in late summer of 1933 with the local team. He even played outfield in Wendell’s 7-2 victory over Spring Hope on August 23.80 Jakie, the “chunky southpaw,” went four-for-four to lead Wendell over Knightdale in the Wake County League championship series.81 He later had four hits and pitched the first five innings in a 26-6 blowout over Angier, with local friend Charlie Rowland as his battery mate.82

After that, May went back to run his tobacco farms. When asked the size of his farms, May responded: “One farm is 100 acres, the other is 78 or 87 — I’m not sure which.”83 In 1941, May reported on the annual tobacco sales as an appointed sales supervisor for the state Agriculture Department.84

The Charlotte Observer wrote about Jakie in his post-baseball life back in Carolina:

You might see him driving out to the fields in the 1926 Packard sedan which after countless polishings he whacked up and converted into a truck. You might find him playing cards down at the coalyard or planning a fishing trip at Buck’s Shell Station. The best bet is that he can be located outside the town office talking with friends who gather there by tacit agreement.85

Jakie May passed away on June 3, 1970 in Raleigh, North Carolina, and is buried at the Montlawn Memorial Park in Raleigh.

In a 1994 article, May’s daughter Ruth May Fowler reminisced about her father:

Daddy was one of the lucky ones, he had saved his money. He bought a couple of farms and we had a nice house in town. When it was time to leave baseball, he left and put it behind him. If people wanted to talk about baseball he would, but he didn’t dwell on it. He had a good life hunting, fishing, and farming.86

In 2017, the youth baseball organization in Wendell dedicated their opening day to “Jake” May.87 A year later, May was posthumously inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.88

 

Acknowledgements

This biography was reviewed by Bill Lamb, Chris Rainey, and Joe DeSantis, and fact-checked by Alan Cohen.

 

Sources

MyHeritage.com

Seamheads.com, Cuban Winter League Statistics 1923-24

North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, Frank “Jakie” May: https://www.ncshof.org/frankmay

Wendell, North Carolina Historical Society: http://wendellhistoricalsociety.com/famous-people-of-wendell/mr-jake-may

Baseball-Reference was the source for statistics unless otherwise noted.

 

Notes

1 May’s actual birth year is open to speculation. His headstone shows 1895 yet his death certificate and marriage certificate list 1897.

2 “Wendell Proud of Pitcher May” News and Observer, September 5, 1926: 25.

3 “Wendell Defeats Zebulon” News and Observer, July 4, 1911: 7.

4 “Wendell Takes Two Games from Wakefield” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), July 13, 1912: 3.

5 “Fred Marshall Henry — ‘Snake’ Henry” Wendell (North Carolina) Historical Society, Famous People of Wendell, website: http://wendellhistoricalsociety.com/famous-people-of-wendell/mr-fred-marshall-henry

6 “Oak Ridge Wins Twice” Greensboro Daily News, April 26, 1913: 6.

7 “Wendell Defeats B.B.B.’s” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), May 10, 1913: 3.

8 “Oak Ridge and Carolina Today” News and Observer, March 17, 1914: 3.

9 “May Fans Thirteen Weaverville Players” News and Observer, April 3, 1914: 3.

10 “The Oak Ridge Lads Battle Hornets Through 17 Frames” Charlotte Observer, April 14, 1914: 9.

11 “Youngster Pitches Well” Our Mountain Home (Talladega, Alabama), May 6, 1914: 8.

12 “Baseball Notes” Anniston (Alabama) Star, July 28, 1914: 6.

13 “May is Extremely Wild” Montgomery Advertiser, August 5, 1914: 9.

14 “Baseball Notes” Anniston Star, August 12, 1914: 3.

15 Sacramento Star, September 2, 1922: 10.

16 “Tar Heelia Sending Third Lefty to Cincinnati Reds” News and Observer, February 17, 1935: 26.

17 “Spring Hope 3, Wendell 5” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), July 31, 1915: 3.

18 News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) July 25, 1915: 3.

19 Baseball-Reference.com (listed only as ‘May’)

20Chief Blanket Mails Unconditional Release to Pitcher Jake May Who is Still Away Down in North Carolina” Salt Lake Herald-Republican, March 18, 1916: 11.

21 “Raleigh is Nearing Zero as the Limit” Charlotte Observer, July 14, 1916: 7.

22 (Shreveport, Louisiana) Times, April 25, 1917: 10.

23 “Texas League” El Paso Herald, June 19, 1917: 11.

24 “Criss and Conley Leaders Top Other Texas Twirlers” El Paso Herald, June 20, 1917: 10.

25 “Baseball Notes” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 25, 1917: 14.

26 “May Responds to Navy Invitation” Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, August 5, 1918: 16.

27 “Record of the Havolines” Daily Republican-Register (Mount Carmel, Illinois), September 3, 1920: 5.

28 “Regulars and the Others Secured Since Last Year” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, January 26, 1921: 7.

29 “Shocker Puts Browns Ahead in Spring Series by Shading May in Brilliant Mound Duel” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 7, 1921: 32.

30 “Cards 6, Reds 1” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, April 20, 1921: 14.

31 “Reds Pitcher Has His Share of Tough Luck” (Munster, Indiana) Times, January 11, 1929: 25.

32 “Jake May’s Pitching Shackles Tribe, While Stars Hit Johnson and Conkwright for 8-5 Victory” Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), May 22, 1921: 47.

33 “Bisons Defeat Jake May” Democrat and Chronicle, May 27, 1921: 35.

34 Sacramento Bee, January 20, 1922: 18.

35 Norwich (Connecticut) Bulletin, April 3, 1922: 3.

36Seattle Opens on Home Grounds with a Defeat” Sacramento Bee, April 20, 1922: 16.

37 Harry M. Grayson “Tigers Knock Fight Out of S.F. Ball Club” Los Angeles Evening Express, May 24, 1922: 29.

38 “Essick Does Wonders with No One to Pitch” The Sporting News, June 22, 1922: 2.

39Angels Overwhelm Tigers 7 to 0 in Tenth Win in Row” Long Beach (California) Telegram, July 20, 1922: 8.

40 Sacramento Star, September 2, 1922: 10.

41 “Coast Loop and Coaster Make Great Races” Los Angeles Evening Express, September 15, 1922: 17.

42 Harry A. Williams “Bengals Bump Solons Twice” Los Angeles Times, September 17, 1922: 30.

43 Paul Zingg and Mark Medeiros, Runs, Hits, and an Era: The Pacific Coast League, 1903-58, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1994: 103.

44 R. Scott Mackey, Barbary Baseball: The Pacific Coast League of the 1920s, McFarland & Company, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1993: 53.

45 Bill O’Neal, The Pacific Coast League 1903-1958, Eakin Press, Austin, Texas 1990: 39.

46 Mackey: 56.

47 “Cards Once Cast Jake May Adrift” Chattanooga News, December 4, 1922: 14.

48 Chattanooga News, December 4, 1922: 14.

49 “Jakie May Deal is No Go, Says Barrow” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 17, 1923: 10.

50 Seamheads.com, Cuban Winter League Statistics, 1923-24.

51 “Adolfo Luque Reported to Have Injured Arm” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, February 24, 1924: 61.

52 John B. Holway, Black Giants Fairfax Press: Springfield, VA, 2010: unenumerated page.

53 Green Bay Press-Gazette, January 4, 1924: 11.

54 “Reds Complete Paying for May” Daily News (New York, New York), January 20, 1924: 52.

55 “Jakie May Signs with Cincinnati” Ogden (Utah) Standard-Examiner, February 29, 1924: 21.

56 “May Prevented from Pitching by Sore Hand” Evening News (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), March 6, 1924: 21.

57 “Reds Pitcher Has His Share of Tough Luck” (Munster, Indiana) Times, January 11, 1929: 25.

58 “Jakie May is Out for Season” Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, September 7, 1926: 19.

59 “Finke Thinks” Dayton Daily News, September 7, 1926: 19.

60 “Jakie May Holds Braves to 4 Hits” Boston Globe, June 15, 1927: 2.

61 “The Day in Baseball” (Munster, Indiana) Times, June 15, 1927: 15.

62 “Superb Shutout Flinging by May Forces Chicago Back” Cincinnati Enquirer, September 3, 1927: 11.

63 “Reds Pitcher Has His Share of Tough Luck” (Munster, Indiana) Times, January 11, 1929: 25.

64 “Jakie May Shuts Out Giants Before 40,000 Fans, 3 to 0” Dayton Daily News, June 11, 1928: 18.

65 “Reds Pitcher Has His Share of Tough Luck” (Munster, Indiana) Times, January 11, 1929: 25.

66 “Six Times Robbie’s Men Tally Off Southpaw Benders of May in First Round” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 7, 1929: 10.

67 Salem (Ohio) News, March 5, 1930: 7.

68 “Jakie May, Pitcher, Hurt in Auto Mishap” Minneapolis Star, June 13, 1931: 21.

69 Altoona (Pennsylvania) Tribune, January 10, 1933: 6.

70 Eddie Allen, “Jakie May Lives Life Placidly, Remembering Fame Now and Then” Charlotte Observer, June 19, 1952: 16.

71 Warren Brown, “’Twas Good Old Series — While It Lasted” San Francisco Examiner, October 3, 1932: 16.

72 Grantland Rice, “Yankees Win World Series Again, Crushing Cubs, 13-6,” Boston Globe, October 3, 1932: 1.

73 “Lazzeri Hits Two Homers in 13 to 6 Victory” San Francisco Examiner, October 3, 1932: 16.

74 Jack Ryder “As Jack Ryder Sees It” Cincinnati Enquirer, November 30, 1932: 15.

75 Ryder.

76 “Veteran Reports Thursday Ready for Mound Duty” Nashville Banner, July 5, 1933: 8.

77 “Vols Sign Jakie May, Former Big League Southpaw” Nashville Banner, July 5, 1933: 8.

78 “Vols Ask Waivers on Jakie May, Recall Buster Bruce” Nashville Banner, August 11, 1933: 9.

79 (Nashville) Tennessean, August 12, 1933: 9.

80 “Spring Hope Beaten by Wendell, 7 to 2”

81 “Jakie May Hurls Win for Wendell” News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) September 17, 1933: 19.

82 “Wendell Wins Easily Against Angier Outfit” News and Observer, September 26, 1933: 8.

83 Eddie Allen, “Jakie May Lives Life Placidly, Remembering Fame Now and Then” Charlotte Observer, June 19, 1952: 16.

84 “N.C. Tobacco Prices Average Nearly $10 Higher Than in 1940” High Point (North Carolina) Enterprise, August 31, 1941: 12.

85 Allen.

86 Dennis Rogers “When Baseball Really Was a Game and Nothing More” News and Observer, October 11, 1994.

87 Aaron Moody, “Wendell Hasn’t Forgotten Its MLB Pitcher Who Struck Out Babe Ruth” News Observer, April 19, 2017 (online edition)

88 “Local Pitcher Who Struck Out Babe Ruth Twice in 1932 World Series to be Inducted into NC Sports Hall of Fame” Johnson County Report, January 14, 2018 (online edition).

Full Name

Frank Spruiell May

Born

November 25, 1895 at Youngsville, NC (USA)

Died

June 3, 1970 at Raleigh, NC (USA)

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