Major League Baseball legend Bill 'Spaceman' Lee collapsed in the outfield prior to the Triple-A Worcester Red Sox's 4-0 loss to the Norfolk Tides on Thursday (August 31).
Lee, 76, was scheduled to throw out the first pitch and sign autographs during the 'Throwback Thursday' event at Polar Park before experiencing "a brief health scare," the WooSox said in a statement obtained by MassLive.com. The former pitcher sat in the dugout for about an inning before being transported to University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital to undergo further evaluation, where he was reported to be in stable condition.
“Bill Lee had a brief health scare, and while he seems to have recovered quickly, doctors have recommended checking him out at a nearby hospital just to be sure,” the WooSox said. “He has experienced such episodes before, and has been fine thereafter. He has, however, left the ballpark and will not be available for your photos and autographs. We wish him continued good health.”
Lee had previously experienced a similar health scare when he was scheduled to throw out the first pitch at a Savannah Bananas game on August 19, 2022, which a first responder referred to as a "cardiac episode."
Lee, a Red Sox Hall of Famer who holds the franchise record for most games pitched by a left-hander (321), gained notoriety for his athletic achievements and his bigger than life personality, famously throwing the 'Leephus pitch,' a variation on the high-arcing off-speed eephus pitch.
The California native went 119-90 with a 3.62 ERA and 713 strikeouts in 1,944.1 innings pitched during his 14-year MLB career with the Red Sox (1969-78) and then-Montreal Expos (1979-82).