Sunday, April 21, 2024

Cambridge resident Bill O’Connell interviews former Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee on March 17 in Fort Myers, Fla., during spring training.

Keep an eye out for resident Bill O’Connell interviewing Red Sox baseball legend Bill “Spaceman” Lee on the “Ablevision” television show and in YouTube clips. The Cambridge resident scored a talk with the baseball great during a trip to Red Sox spring training at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, Fla.

The trip, sponsored by Norwell-based Sullivan Auto & Tire Service, took O’Connell and other crew members for  “Ablevision” to Florida for several days starting March 15 for spring training, as the company did last year for an interview with current Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “Ablevision” is written, shot and hosted by people with disabilities and run out of Triangle, a Malden organization creating life and work opportunities for people with disabilities. The show’s creators claim 85,000 Youtube views in addition to 55 broadcast affiliates.

Lee is celebrated not just for winning 117 games during a 14-year career, but for the countercultural attitude and actions that won him his nickname. He’s listed third on Yahoo’s “quirkiest players in baseball history” for talking to animals, sprinkling pot on his pancakes and (possibly apocryphal) quotes such as, “The other day they asked me about mandatory drug testing. I said I believed in drug testing a long time ago. All through the sixties I tested everything.”

Since being “deported” to Canada when his seasons with the Sox ended — he also played for the Montreal Expos — Lee remains a fixture in baseball. He shapes wood into bats used by current Sox players, won a September game for the Brockton Rox (the New England Sports Network gave him Pitcher of the Week honors for the more than five “stellar innings” he pitched) at age 63 and shared his opinions Friday on WEEI’s “Planet Mikey” show with Mike Adams.