Friday, June 11, 2010

50 Year Counterparts, Pt. 6

1961 Topps #84 Lee Maye
Today's 1961/2010 Counterparts are two men who, although played for the Braves, found much of their success in the city of Angels.

Lee Maye began his professional baseball career in my neck of the woods (Boise, Idaho) in 1954, playing for the Boise Braves of the Class C Pioneer League. Lee would make it to the majors in 1959, and would be a member of the Braves until their final season in Milwaukee in 1965. Although not a star by any means, Maye was a good contact hitter who had good speed, as well as some pop in his bat. In 1961 Lee had one of his better seasons, hitting .271 in 110 games with 14HR, 11 2B, 5 3B, 10/11 SB. His 1963 season almost mirrored the '61 stats, and then he followed that with his breakthrough year in 1964, when he led the league with 44 doubles (he also had 5 triples and 10 homers that year). At the height of his career, Lee suffered an ankle injury at the beginning of the 1965 season and was traded to the Astros after his recoveryt. Maye would go on to play six more seasons in Houston, Cleveland, Washington, before finishing with the ChiSox in 1971.

Once dubbing himself, "The Best Singing Athlete Who Ever Lived", Maye's playing career might have been overshadowed, if not hurt by, his singing career. Beginning in Los Angeles during the 1950's, Lee was an R & B singer for his "doo-wop" band, Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns. With the Crowns, Arthur Lee Maye (as he was known in the music biz) would record his biggest hit, "Gloria" (not the Van Morrison or Doors hits). Another noteworthy recording he appeared on was the original "Louie, Louie" by Richard Berry.

No. 84 in the 2010 Topps Heritage set belongs to last year's left fielder for the Braves, Garret Anderson. Although not a professional musician, Anderson could definitely be described as a professional hitter. In a weird twist of irony, Garret also began his professional baseball career by playing in Boise for 25 games in 1990 (although he first appeared in 32 games for the Angels Arizona Rookie team). He would then go on to play 14 years for the Angels, becoming one of their most popular players. In 2009, his first season for another team, Garret would get his 2500th career hit, placing him 89th on the all-time list.

While Anderson's playing career has surpassed that of Maye, I think that their numbers could have been quite similar, had Maye not suffered his ankle injury and been given more consistant playing time.

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