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Umpire Jim Joyce saves woman's life, then works home plate

August 22, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • Umpire Jim Joyce used CPR on a woman just 90 minutes before working home plate at Monday's Diamondbacks-Marlins game.
Umpire Jim Joyce used CPR on a woman just 90 minutes before working home plate… (Matt York / Associated Press )

Jim Joyce is a 24-year veteran of Major League Baseball who is probably best known as the umpire who robbed Detroit's Armando Galarraga of a perfect game in 2010.

Until now. Now his claim to fame will be something much more important -- saving the life of another human being.

Joyce was walking through the tunnel at Chase Field on Monday with the other three members of the umpiring crew about 90 minutes before the Arizona Diamondbacks-Miami Marlins game when he saw a woman having a seizure. After making sure her head was protected, Joyce noticed her body had relaxed.

“I knew something was wrong,” Joyce told MLB.com. “And I knew if something wasn't done, this lady could actually die in front of me. It was more instinct than anything else.”

Calling upon the skills he learned in high school but hadn't used in many years, the 53-year-old Joyce performed CPR on stadium food service employee Jayne Powers until paramedics arrived. And when their initial defibrillator shock did not revive the woman, Joyce continued CPR as the paramedics worked.

Payne eventually started breathing and was taken to a hospital, where she was stabilized and had a pacemaker implanted. Somehow Joyce was able to work home plate after the incident, declining his colleagues' offer to switch to third base.

"It was very emotional, I'll be honest with you," Joyce said. "But I didn't want to go to third base because just standing there, literally, [the incident] is all I would have thought about all night. I wouldn't have been able to think about anything else.

"Going behind the plate, I would have something to do every minute. I could just do my job. But I'll be honest with you, there were still times during the game that I was thinking about it."

Joyce felt better after visiting Payne at the hospital Tuesday.

"She told my wife she remembered my voice,"  he said of Payne, who could be released from the hospital later this week. "I was yelling for her to come back and everything. She said she recognized my voice, so that's really kind of cool."

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