Blog #39 (Rudy May)

By Richard J. Decker on November 14, 2012 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

Now for the Opening Day memory:

My memory of Rudy May is the game he describes below; the reopening of Yankee Stadium in 1976 after the Yankees had been exiled to Shea Stadium while Yankee Stadium was being renovated during the 1974 and 1975 seasons. It was a very tough ticket and I recall missing school and sitting in the upper deck on the third base side closer to left field. I specifically remember the Dan Ford home run Rudy describes below as well as Oscar Gamble's big hitting day for the Yankees. But this is supposed to be about Rudy May. Rudy pitched from 1965-1983 for the then California Angels, two stints with the Yankees, the Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos. Interestingly, he first pitched in the majors for the Angels in 1965, and saw no major league action again until 1969. That is perseverance. He retired in 1983 after his 2nd stint with the Yankees.

Rudy was a bespectacled lefty with 152 career wins, a lifetime 3.46 ERA (pretty impressive by today's standards) and 1760 career strikeouts (also not bad). He won at least 15 games 4 times, including 18 in 1977 with the Orioles. In 1980, he was 15-5 for the Yankees with a league leading 2.47 ERA. He would be a wealthy man if he pitched in today's game. Here is his Opening Day memory from the 1976 Yankee home opener that I attended.

May.JPG"The opener I remember was the 1976 opener, when we reopened the new Yankee Stadium. It was against Minnesota, and I remember I was real nervous. I started but didn't complete it and wasn't involved in the decision. I know we won, but I gave up a home run to Dan Ford. I had always pitched well against Ford and the Twins, but I was just so nervous."

I am glad I went back and checked the box score because I incorrectly recalled Oscar Gamble hitting a home run. He didn't, but he did double and triple and knock in two runs. I also would have never have remembered that Rudy only pitched 2.1 innings that game and that it was Dick Tidrow who pitched 5 to earn the victory.

See you in two. Richie