Jim Rice's quick reaction saves a boy struck by a foul ball


ON THIS DATE (August 7, 1982) ... The disclaimer is right there on the back of every ticket: “The holder assumes all risks and danger incidental to the game of baseball including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown bats and thrown or batted balls“

People never read the disclaimer and people never think they’ll be the one injured by a batted baseball. The odds were 33,595-to-1 that 4-year-old Jonathan Keane of Greenland, N.H., would be the unfortunate fan struck and injured by Dave Stapleton’s vicious line drive in the bottom of the fourth inning of yesterday’s 7-3 Chicago victory over the Red Sox. Keane suffered a laceration over the left eye and a fractured skull, but was listed in good condition at Children’s Hospital tonight.

Attending the game with his parents and brother, the youngster was watching from the second row of seats on the left side of the Red Sox dugout when Stapleton’s foul rocket screeched into the crowd. The ball struck Keane over the left eye. Instantly, there was profuse bleeding from the child’s head. Rick Miller popped his head out of the Red Sox dugout, saw the blood, and called for Red Sox trainer Charlie Moss.

Jim Rice acted quickly. He darted to the railing and the child was passed into his arms. Rice carried the youngster through the dugout runway, into the Red Sox clubhouse and into the trainer’s room. Red Sox physician Dr. Arthur Pappas, who’d been watching from his customary box seat, beat Rice to the trainer’s room, called Children’s Hospital and ordered an ambulance. Pappas estimated that the child was in the ambulance less than two minutes after being hit.  According to Pappas, Keane was conscious when he left Fenway. Officials at Children’s Hospital reported that Keane suffered a laceration over the left eye and a fractured skull, but was in “good condition.”

Red Sox players appeared shaken by the incident.  Rice downplayed his dramatic role. “If it was your kid, what would you do?,” he said. “The baby was crying and there was a lot of blood. I think he was more in shock than anything.”  Rice played the remainder of the game wearing a blood-stained uniform. The box score says he was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and grounded into two double plays, but the heart says he had one of his best days ever.