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The Day Jim Rice Saved A 4-Year Old At Fenway Park

On the afternoon of August 8, 1982, in the bottom of the 4th inning Red Sox second basemen Dave Stapleton hit a line drive foul right over the first base dugout. What happened next was a combination of horror and heroism.

The foul ball struck 4-year old Jonathan Keane in the forehead immediately creating a large laceration and causing significant bleeding. Onlookers were horrified by both the sight and sound. Jonathan’s father Tom initially thought the foul ball hit the dugout. It wasn’t until he looked at his son and saw him slumped over and bleeding profusely from his head that he realized it had hit his son, not the dugout. That’s when Red Sox future Hall of Famer Jim Rice jumped into action. He ran out of the dugout grabbed the boy who was sitting with his father and brother in the second row. Rice rushed the boy to the clubhouse and into the trainer’s room. Red Sox team physician Dr. Arthur Pappas who had watched the scene unfold had made his way to the clubhouse. He managed to call the Children’s Hospital and Jonathan was in an ambulance being transported to Boston Children’s Hospital within two to three minutes of being struck by the the ball.

Jonathan underwent emergency surgery to relieve pressure caused by the swelling. While Keane has no memory of that day he did make a full recovery. Doctors said Rice’s quick actions that resulted in quicker medical attention than waiting in the stands for EMTs to come to him probably prevented permanent damage and possibly saved his life.

Jim Rice a hero in the truest sense of the word, finished the game in his blood stained uniform going 1-4 with two rbi. When asked about the incident Rice simply said, “If it was your kid, what would you do?”


  1. Great picture and wonderful remembrance of a story that I now recall thanks to the Boston Globe. Jim Rice was always my wife’s favorite ballplayer. A class act in every aspect of the game and life. Thank you for the memory of a class act by a class ballplayer.


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