Thursday, February 02, 2017

A Class Of One

Baseball season is almost upon us! Here is one of my favorite major league stories which took place both on and off the field. This is from July 26, 2009.

Jim Rice was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame today in Cooperstown, New York. Along with base stealing legend Rickey Henderson and the deceased Joe Gordon, Rice officially took his place among the greatest players ever in America's past time. Playing his entire career for the Boston Red Sox, Rice had to wait fifteen years past his original eligibility to garner the required votes for enshrinement. As media attention once again focused on the quiet slugger, a story emerged from the archives that spoke volumes about Cooperstown's new resident.

In a home game versus the White Sox in early August of 1982, four year old Jonathan Keane was sitting on the second row close to the Red Sox dugout with his father and two year old brother. In the fourth inning, Boston's Dave Stapleton fouled a screaming line drive into the stands. The vicious liner hit Jonathan in the face, stunning the crowd, including his dad. Everyone froze....except Jim Rice, standing on the dugout steps. Without hesitation, Rice sprinted into the stands and grabbed the unconscious youngster, carrying him down into the trainer's room where they were met by the team doctor. Jonathan, rushed to a nearby hospital, suffered a fractured skull but made a full recovery. His father, Tom Keane, credits Jim Rice with saving his son's life. When asked what made him react so quickly to the horrific accident, Rice simply said that it was the father in him imagining his own children. The picture above, snapped by a Boston Herald photographer that August afternoon twenty-seven years ago, hangs in the Red Sox dugout to this day. I'm no Red Sox fan but what a wonderful memorial to a wonderful deed.

What gives human beings, flawed as we are, the instinct to react as Jim Rice did so many years ago? What's the force that can drive us to the heroic on those occasions when we raise the level of our collective humanity? Could it be we have a Father in heaven whose image we are made in? He knows what it's like to have a child suffer and maybe that paternal sense of intervention was passed on to those of our species willing to accept it. Jim Rice was immortalized today in baseball's most sacred shrine but even if he hadn't received the votes from the baseball writers, he was already in another Hall Of Fame you never heard of. The Keanes' vote was unanimous- Jim Rice was their first ballot inductee.

To watch a terrific interview with the principles in this story, click on the link below. You will be touched!

To read a great recap of this story, click or copy and paste below!

Applicable quote for the day:
"It's hard to comprehend. I am in awe to be in this elite company and humbled to be accepting this honor."
Jim Rice (from his Hall Of Fame acceptance speech)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Warren Baldwin said...

I lived in Vermont in the 1970s and actually watched Jim Rice play in a couple of games. I wasn't particularly a Red Sox fan, but I did follow them and was definitely a Jim Rice fan. It was great to read about his induction into the Hall of Fame on your blog!