40 years later, a look back at the day Jim Rice saved a boy’s life at Fenway Park

“If it was your kid, what would you do?”

Jim Rice carries a boy hit by Dave Stapleton's foul ball. Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff

On Aug. 7, 1982, in a game between the Red Sox and White Sox at Fenway Park, Jim Rice saved a young boy’s life.

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Here’s a look back at that day, exactly 40 years later:

It was the fourth inning, with the White Sox ahead, 3-0, and Red Sox second baseman Dave Stapleton rocketed a ball foul over the first base dugout.

Four-year-old Jonathan Keane, sitting two rows above the dugout alongside his father, Tom, and 2-year-old brother, had no time to react. The ball struck him in the face, and Jonathan was immediately in agony.

Tom initially thought the ball hit the dugout, then he looked over and saw his son slouched over, covered in blood, and screaming. Jonathan had a large gash on his forehead, and everyone frantically called for help.

Rice quickly jumped into action, grabbing the boy and holding him in his arms as he ran to the dugout. Team physician Arthur Pappas called Children’s Hospital while the medical team worked on Jonathan. They rushed him to the hospital, where doctors noted that Rice’s quick actions were instrumental in his survival.

“I think he saved my life,” Jonathan told WMUR-TV in 2009. “His reaction, and ability to stay cool in that situation, when really nobody else did anything, was remarkable.”

The Boston Globe‘s Dan Shaughnessy wrote: Rice downplayed his dramatic role. “If it was your kid, what would you do?” he said. “The baby was crying and there was a lot of blood. I think he was more in shock than anything.”

Jonathan, who later graduated from North Carolina State University and became CEO of CustomerHD in Raleigh, North Carolina, has a scar over his left eye but no major lasting side effects. He has no memory of the event, but he threw out the first pitch the next spring and has since reconnected with Rice.

“I’ve hit home runs. I’ve driven in runs,” Rice said. “But as far as something that stands out, it’s probably the picture when I went up into the stands and took the kid out of the stands who was hit by the foul ball.”

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