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Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee collapses on the field during pregame ceremonies at Worcester’s Polar Park

Bill Lee was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs at Polar Park.Dave Gram/Associated Press

WORCESTER — Former Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee collapsed on the field during pregame ceremonies before a Triple A game between the Worcester WooSox and the Norfolk Tides at Polar Park on Thursday. He walked off on his own and was laughing and talking in the dugout after the incident, reported.

Lee, known as the “Spaceman,” was scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign autographs. reported that the 76-year-old lefthander was playing catch in the outfield when he put his hands on his knees and fell backward. The website said Lee was immediately assisted by WooSox medical personnel and walked off the field to the dugout on his own. He appeared to be laughing as he sat in the dugout for about an inning into the game before he was taken to a hospital, it reported.


In a statement from the WooSox that was also read over the public address system at Polar Park, the team said that Lee “had a health scare.”

“While he seems to have recovered quickly, doctors have recommended checking him out at a nearby hospital just to be sure,” the statement said. “He has experienced such episodes before, and has been fine thereafter.”

Lee also collapsed on a Georgia field about a year ago while he was pitching for the Savannah Bananas, a novelty barnstorming team. Paramedics at that game resuscitated him with a defibrillator.

Lee went 119-90 in 14 seasons with the Red Sox and Montreal from 1969-82, making the 1973 AL All-Star team. He helped pitch the Red Sox into the 1975 World Series and started Game 7 against Cincinnati, leaving with a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning of the game the Sox lost 4-3.