Mayday Malone

Sports sobriquet of bartender Sam Malone (Ted Danson) on the sitcom CHEERS/NBC/1982-93. A former relief pitcher for the Boston Red Sox baseball team, Mayday (No.16) could pitch with both his right or left arm.Sam’s claimed batting average was 211; his actual batting average was 149.


Mayday began his career in Medford, Massachusetts where he played ball in sandlots, and later for the Wilderbeests at Medford Vocational High School.

Spotted by a scout for the Red Sox baseball team, he was snatched from the Cape Cod League a few years later to become an “A” league ball player at West Haven, Florida for $400 a month.

He finally arrived at Fenway Stadium in 1974 but, his best year was in 1975 when the Red Sox battled the Reds in the World Series. There he was on the mound for nearly an hour without giving up a pitch. Only when Pete Rose kept switching his batting stance back and forth from left to right did Sam collapse from dizziness.

His last game was played in Tiger Stadium in 1979 where the effects of alcoholism and a sore arm brought down the curtain on his career. He left the team and later became the proprietor of a tavern known as “Cheers” located in Boston.

One of the reasons he started to drink was because his pitch known as the “Slider of Death” often pooped-out in mid-flight and was fair game for sluggers like Boog Powell, Harmon Killebrew and Dutch Kincaid, an obnoxious Yankee baseball player who homered whenever he came up against Sam (a total of 27 times).

Though his career in baseball was over, Sam did “score” in another field of endeavor-womanizing. When Sam was about to put the “make” on a woman, the regulars in the bar chanted “May-DAY!, May-DAY!, May-DAY!”

For more career information on Mayday Malone check out the article written by Steve Rushin entitled “Everybody Knows His Name: Cheers for Sam Malone, the ex-Bosox reliever who served ’em up both on and off the field” Sports Illustrated 5/24/93 p. 62-70.

Note: Black rock star Grace Jones played a vicious assassin named Mayday in the James Bond film A View To A Kill (1985).


Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Sports, Workplace Nickname

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