RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Images captured in black and white remain seared in the memories of baseball fans around the country.
Newspaper photos from 1982, published in the Boston Herald and Boston Globe, show Boston Red Sox star Jim Rice carrying a badly injured little boy out of the stands moments after a ball hit him in the head.
That little boy was Jonathan Keane, who now lives in Raleigh. Keane was just 4 years old; too young to remember that day, but he knows what it meant.
“I think about my family and Jim Rice saving us, saving my life,” he said. “Everyone else didn’t do anything and he had that reaction … Instinctively lifted me out of the stands and bringing me to the ambulance.”
Keane said he spent five days in the hospital in critical condition, but was back at Fenway Park the following season to throw out the first pitch at opening day. Even though Keane lives in Raleigh now, he still watches his favorite team whenever he can.
“It happened so long ago, I’m not thinking about the event. I’m thinking of being at one of my favorite places in the world, which is Fenway Park,” he said. “My whole family, we’re all passionate Red Sox fans.”
Exactly 36 years after the accident, Keane’s only real reminder is a scrapbook of pictures and newspaper articles including articles from the Boston Herald. He also has a tiny scar on his head.
Although he may not remember the horrifying moment the world saw in photographs, he’ll never forget the gift Jim Rice gave him.
“I would say thank you,” Keane said. “Thanks for saving my life.”