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MLB Legend Collapses on Field Before He Was Supposed to Throw Out First Pitch

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Renowned former Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee collapsed as he prepared to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Thursday at Polar Park.

The 76-year-old baseball legend was at the Worcester, Massachusetts, field for a “Throwback Thursday” Triple-A game between the Worcester Red Sox and the Norfolk Tides, according to MassLive.

While playing a warm-up game of catch, Lee suddenly placed his hands on his knees and toppled backward.

After being treated by medical personnel, Lee walked to the dugout unassisted. He remained there for some time, laughing and appearing to be in good spirits.

However, he was taken to the hospital to be checked out after about an inning.

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In a social media post, Worcester Red Sox showed a picture of Lee in a hospital bed sporting a wide smile and giving a thumbs-up to the camera.

The post reassured readers that Lee was in stable condition after his “brief health scare.”

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Lee experienced a more serious medical incident about a year ago in Georgia as he was pitching for the Savannah Bananas, according to ESPN.

On that occasion, however, a medical team had to resuscitate him with a defibrillator after he had a “cardiac episode” and stopped breathing, per Savannah Morning News.

“He literally went down, just out of nowhere,” said fellow pitcher Mat Wolf at the time of the collapse.

“I would say without immediate intervention, that person would not be alive right now,” commented onlooker Bob Milie, who is both a town of Thunderbolt administrator and firefighter.

“That only ends one way normally, but their direct involvement saved his life.”

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During a Bananas game, the commotion on the field could easily have been mistaken for a scheduled prank.

In fact, throughout his storied baseball career and afterward, Lee has been famous for his colorful attitude and fiery behavior as well as for his pitching.

Mashable referred to him as “Hunter S. Thompson on a baseball diamond, more or less.”

His major league career ended abruptly due to a walkout he staged to protest his team cutting a friend.

Lee went on to become the subject of a film, “Spaceman,” and a song by Warren Zevon. He also ran (unsuccessfully) for governor of Vermont.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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