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  May 11: Rangers first baseman Rafael Palmeiro joins the exclusive 500 HR club. (AP Photo)

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May: Palmiero hits 500, McKeon hired
Texas Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro was a spry 38 years old -- young by life's standards, if not baseball's -- when he reached the end of a long, joyous journey. That same day, Jack McKeon, 72, and a senior no matter who's counting, but pretty chipper in his own right, began the trip of a lifetime. Here's a day-by-day look at May's highlights:
Team Stories & Headlines

By Thomas Harding /

May 1
Things had to get better for Detroit pitcher Mike Maroth after he dropped his first six starts, right? It sure seemed that way when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Baltimore. But Maroth went from no-no to no nothing when Baltimore scored six runs with two out in the eighth -- four charged to Maroth, and vanquished the Tigers, 6-4.

May 2
The Toronto Blue Jays moved closer Kelvim Escobar into the starting rotation. It worked out for both parties. The Jays would get a dependable pitcher (13-9, 4.29 ERA in 41 games, 26 starts). Escobar would get a three-year, $18.75 million contract from Anaheim after the season.

May 3
The Rookie of the Month awards for April were announced. For Tampa Bay's Rocco Baldelli, it was a simply a nice honor. But for Montreal's Zach Day, it was the beginning of a month of May showers. It turned out Day wasn't a rookie after all. That news kicked off a May that was alternately sweet and sticky for Day.

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May 4

The matchup between Oakland's Barry Zito and the New York Yankees' Roger Clemens was hyped to postseason proportions. An innocent comment by Oakland's Scott Hatteberg about the battle of "Cy Young vs. Cy Old" touched off a field day for Big Apple tabloids that trumped it into an insult toward the Rocket. But Zito simply threw eight shutout innings of a 2-0 Athletics victory .

May 5
It was a Royal party of near-historic significance in Kansas City. In the ninth inning, Boston pitcher Brandon Lyon hit Desi Relaford with the bases loaded, and Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciparra let a ground ball go between his legs as the Royals walked away with a 7-6 victory. It was Kansas City's 11th straight at home to start the season, one shy of the home start of the 1911 Detroit Tigers ...

May 6
... but the Red Sox rendered Kansas City's streak to history the next night. Casey Fossum took a two-hit shutout into the eighth. There was no comeback, as the Red Sox won, 7-3.

May 7
May was the month when the respective league champions found just how hard it would be to repeat. On this day, San Francisco closer Robb Nen would undergo season-ending rotator cuff surgery. World Series champ Anaheim would not escape the month with its bullpen unscathed, either.

May 8

You know how your eyes gloss over when hearing the offseason reports about top prospects? They're just names, right? Well, the Florida Marlins would call up one of those names, left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis. His would become a household name for the rest of the season. Also, Cincinnati's Aaron Boone would break in the Reds' Great American Ballpark by becoming the first player to hit three home runs in a game there, to pace an 8-6 victory over St. Louis.
May 9

The New York Mets' idea of moving Mike Piazza, the greatest hitting catcher in the history of the sport, to first base to lengthen his career had already been dinner table conversation -- evidently before it was talked about in Piazza's dining room. Former Met great Keith Hernandez weighed in, saying it would be a cool move.

May 10
For a little while, no one could say that Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa was a near-perfect specimen from head to toe. Sosa went on the 15-day disabled list to have the nail removed from his right big toe. Also, the Clemens-Zito hypefest would move to the West Coast. No perceived insults this time, just revenge for Clemens and a 5-2 Yankees victory.

May 11

It was a special day. Texas slugger Rafael Palmeiro would make history, and the Florida Marlins would hand their managerial job over to Jack McKeon, a man who remembered when fast-paced play on the basepaths was considered modern baseball.

May 12
Felipe Alou would manage San Francisco to the National League West crown in his first year in the Giants' dugout. But on this day, he couldn't help but reminisce about nine years in Montreal, which were marked by talented players and constant personnel changes. The current, talented Montreal club used a strong effort from Day to hand the Giants a a 4-3 defeat.

May 13
Usually, just about everyone hits home runs in Colorado. But the Rockies went through a stretch when almost no one was doing it -- except for Preston Wilson. Colorado won for only the third time in 13 games. But during that period, Wilson hit six homers, including a key shot in the 9-8 victory over the Mets at Coors Field . Back in New York, the real interest came before the game, when Piazza took grounders at first base in what had to have been one of the most closely watched fielding sessions in recent history.

May 14
Pittsburgh had lost 10 straight to the Houston Astros, but pitcher Jeff D'Amico struck out 10 as the Pirates ended the skid, 3-2.

May 15
Arturo Moreno, who rose to the top in business after being born the oldest of 11 children from a family in Tucson, Ariz., became Major League Baseball's first Latino owner when baseball confirmed his $182 million purchase of the Anaheim Angeles from the Walt Disney Co. On the field, Kerry Wood struck out 16 and six relievers brought the Cubs' strikeout total to 24 -- an NL record for an extra-inning game -- in Chicago's 4-2 victory over Milwaukee.

May 16
The continuing story of Piazza's move to first base went to the back burner when Piazza suffered a groin tear trying to get out of the way of a pitch by San Francisco's Jason Schmidt. Elsewhere, left-hander John Rocker, once one of the brightest and loudest figures in the game, made a quiet exit as Tampa Bay sent the reliever down to Double-A Orlando.

May 17
Day's bizarre month continued. Before a game at Coors Field, Day used glue to cover a blister on his right middle finger. The glue became slippery in the third dinning, and Day tried pulling it off while he was on the mound. Umpires saw this, and ejected him for having a foreign substance on his hand. But it turned out OK for the hurler. The Expos won, 6-4, and later in the month MLB decided not to suspend Day.

May 18
Lou Piniella traded success managing the Seattle Mariners for a better family life managing Tampa Bay. He knew the Devil Rays needed work, but he admitted that he had to make a major adjustment to the situation. But Rays fans could rest easy. He said he saw the chance for the team to improve.

May 19
St. Louis pitcher Matt Morris held the Cubs to four hits while pitching his first shutout of the season, 2-0. Morris would toss a shutout in his next start as well.

May 20
The Yankees' best pitcher at this point of the season blew out 40 candles on his birthday cake. David Wells was 6-1 with a 3.07 ERA.

May 21
It was time to celebrate in Milwaukee. Wayne Franklin pitched a two-hit shutout and Geoff Jenkins knocked three home runs in a 10-0 victory over San Diego, which completed the Brewers' first sweep of the season. The Giants' Schmidt earned ace status -- and put the wheels in motion to earn the starting pitching assignment at the All-Star Game -- by blanking Arizona, 6-0, at Bank One Ballpark.

May 22
Los Angeles' Jason Romano is versatile, but on this day he was answering questions about whether he could handle another job -- such as Secret Service agent. The previous night during a game against Colorado, a fan leaped out of the stands and ran toward teammate Brian Jordan in the Dodger Stadium outfield. Romano, also playing in the outfield at the time, rushed over and smashed the guy to the turf with a thunderous body check.

May 23

It was a warm moment between competitors. Cubs manager Dusty Baker and Houston second baseman Jeff Kent met at the batting cage for the first time since the end of the World Series, when both were in San Francisco Giants uniforms.
May 24

Los Angeles pitcher Hideo Nomo already has spun two no-hitters in his Major League career. And he almost did it again, while leading the Dodgers to a 6-0 shutout of Milwaukee. The Angels saw their chances to repeat as World Series champs diminish when they had to place closer Troy Percival on the disabled list with a hip injury.

May 25
Left-handed pitcher Doug Davis would finish the year in Milwaukee, but he did leave Toronto with a special memory. Davis held the Yankees to one run in five innings of the 5-3 victory that completed the first four-game sweep of the Yankees in Blue Jays history.

May 26
The Red Sox didn't want to be victim of the 300th victory by their former ace, Roger Clemens, and as always didn't want to fall to the archrival Yankees. So manager Grady Little complained to umpires about a logo on Clemens' glove, claiming it could distract hitters. Clemens swapped out gloves and the Boston hitters found little distractions at the plate, managing eight runs on 10 hits against Clemens in an 8-4 Boston victory.

May 27
The Angels completed their World Series victory tour with a visit to the White House. President Bush went out of his way to praise David Eckstein for getting a nice suit for the occasion. Eckstein, who had never worn the suit, figured Bush "has spies everywhere". The Yankees would get a measure of revenge against the Red Sox. New York ended Nomar Garciaparra's hitting streak at 26 games and took an 11-3 victory.

May 28
Yankees boss George Steinbrenner interrupted the season to deliver manager Joe Torre and hitting coach Rick Down a special message -- what they were doing simply wasn't good enough. Atlanta put on a hitting display that would have pleased anyone. The first three batters of the Braves' game with Cincinnati -- Rafael Furcal, Mark DeRosa and Gary Sheffield -- homered. The feat had been done just once before, by San Diego in 1987. Reds pitcher Jeff Austin gave up a fourth homer to Javy Lopez with two out in the first before finally being removed from the Braves' 15-3 victory.

May 29
During the winter, anyone could have signed right-hander Esteban Loaiza. Now, the Chicago White Sox wouldn't dream of giving up the bargain they signed to a minor league deal. Loaiza held his previous team, Toronto, to two runs on five hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 3-2 victory that brought his record to 8-2.

May 30
Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were supposed to always be together, weren't they? But for the first time since Glavine left Atlanta for the Mets, they opposed one another. Maddux left the game early, but still pitched well enough to get the decision in the Braves' 5-2 victory . Also, pitching standout David Cone, who returned from a one-year layoff to pitch for the Mets, said goodbye.

May 31
Florida's callup of Willis had begun to pay off. Willis held Cincinnati to one run and five hits in seven innings of the Marlins' 3-2 victory. It was the second of Willis' eight straight winning decisions.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.