Bill Lee, Former MLB Pitcher, Recovering Well Following Collapse at Savannah Bananas Game

by Patrick Norton

Bill Lee appears on the mend after collapsing in the bullpen while warming up for the Savannah Bananas. The independent league baseball team is most known for flaming bats, former major leaguers and other wacky hijinks. However, Lee’s medical emergency was no act.

The former Boston Red Sox pitcher collapsed in the bullpen on Friday night during the team’s ESPN2 debut. Cameras briefly captured the scene before realizing the severity of the situation. Luckily for Lee, members of the town’s fire department happened to be in attendance.

Firefighters of Thunderbolt, Georgia administered immediate care for Lee, allowing the pitcher to eventually exit under his own power. The 14-year MLB veteran left the stadium in an ambulance for further medical attention.

Savannah Bananas coach Eric Byrnes provided a health update on Lee with a tweet on Saturday afternoon. The 75-year-old former pitcher appears jovial and stands with his arm around Byrnes while his other hand clutches a baseball glove.

Byrnes later said, “[Lee’s] going through the pitching motion.” The coach also left the door open should Lee opt to return to the Bananas following the cardiac episode.

But Lee’s long-term health significantly outweighs his longevity as a baseball player. The 1975 World Series Game 7 starter stopped breathing completely on Friday. If not for the fast-acting firemen taking in the Bananas’ theatrics, the 75-year-old might not be alive to share in the laughter.

Savannah Bananas’ Organization Speaks on Impact of Bill Lee

Byrnes wasn’t the only member of the team to visit Lee in the hospital. Team president Jared Orton shared that a staff member spent the night at the hospital on Friday night while doctors examined Lee. Byrnes’ assistants also joined the coach in paying a quick visit to the MLB veteran.

While fearing devastating news on Friday, the team’s first baseman, Dan Oberst, shared a particularly heartfelt thought on Lee’s presence. Oberst said, “He’s one of a kind. If I’m half the man Bill Lee is one day, I consider myself in a good spot.”