Former Red Sox Pitcher Bill Lee Collapses at Savannah Bananas Exhibition Game

by Patrick Norton

Former Major League Baseball pitcher Bill Lee collapsed while warming up for the Savannah Bananas on Friday night. The 75-year-old was able to walk off of the field from the bullpen with assistance.

The Bananas aren’t your typical independent league baseball team. Employing former baseball legends, using flaming bats and other wild gameplay antics, the Bananas attempt to bring the entertainment to new heights in baseball. On Friday night, ESPN2 produced a national broadcast of the exhibition game.

Upon Lee’s sudden collapse, the game stopped before resuming after the former all-star left the field. Team president Jared Orton said, “He was able to leave the stadium with medical attention and was taken to a local hospital.”

While Lee was conscious and able to leave the stadium for proper medical care, no further update on the situation became available. Thanks to fast-acting first responders at the stadium, Lee received immediate care until able to walk off himself.

Bob Millie, a firefighter in Thunderbolt, Georgia, happened to be watching the game near the bullpen. “I would say without immediate intervention, that person would not be alive right now,” said Millie.

The firefighter continued, “He had a cardiac episode that stopped his breathing. That only ends one way normally, but their direct involvement saved his life.”

Bill Lee Brings Major League Experience Back to Baseball

Lee pitched for 14 seasons in the major leagues. He spent 10 years in the American League with the Boston Red Sox, starting Game 7 of the 1975 World Series. However, Lee could not lift The Curse of The Bambino, and Boston lost to the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3.

But Lee – nicknamed Spaceman during his playing career – is perhaps most well-known for his popular interviews during his playing career. When asked about the introduction of mandatory drug testing in baseball, Lee responded the only way he could. “I’ve tried just about all of them, but I wouldn’t want to make it mandatory,” said the hurling jokester.

The Savannah Bananas’ relaxed and entertaining spin on the game brings Lee’s outspoken demeanor back to life. His character reminds fans of a forgotten era in baseball, and an opportunity to reminisce about childhood heroes.