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Texas Rangers: Remembering Shannon Stone

ARLINGTON, Texas — After an incredible race to the postseason in both Wild Card races, Friday marked the first day of the 2011 MLB Division Series with two games scheduled – the Texas Rangers versus the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees versus the Detroit Tigers.

The Rangers kicked off the beginning of the postseason with game one of the ALDS by honoring the memory of Shannon Stone, a Rangers fan who fell to his death at Rangers Ballpark earlier in the season. Stone and his six-year-old son, Cooper, traveled three hours from their home in Brownwood, Texas to see the Rangers take on the Oakland Athletics when Stone reached over the railing to catch a ball thrown up by Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton.  Stone lost his balance and fell to the ground about twenty feet where he eventually went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead within the hour. Club owner Nolan Ryan has been in constant contact with Stone’s wife, Jenny, and the rest of the Stone family since the horrific accident on July 7, offering any sort of assistance the team can provide.

A few weeks ago, after conversations with Hamilton about his willingness to participate, Ryan called to invite the Stone family to game one of the ALDS and ask if Cooper would be interested in throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player, Hamilton. Though Cooper has wanted to return to the stadium since the incident occurred, his mother has not been ready to return. Ready to face the struggle, the Stone family returned to Rangers Ballpark yesterday to honor Shannon.

With close to 50,000 fans in attendance for last night’s game, fans rose to their feet, many teary-eyed, to watch Cooper toss the first pitch. Wearing a Rangers jersey with Hamilton’s number 32 and “Cooper” stitched across the back, Cooper was joined on the mound by his mother and Ryan. After Hamilton caught the ball, he joined the Stone family for the first time and embraced Cooper with a hug first, and then his mother, Jenny. In a statement issued by the club, Jenny stated, “They have turned a difficult return to The Ballpark into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cooper. Nothing could be more exciting for a boy than throwing out the first pitch to his favorite player. We are glad and grateful to be here to see the Rangers start their march to the World Series.” After the opening ceremonies, Cooper, Jenny, and six other guests sat in the first row behind home plate to watch the game.

The Rangers have also announced they will build a statue of Shannon and Cooper to be placed outside the home plate entrance of the stadium, which should be unveiled by opening day of the 2012 season. Additionally, the club brought in over $150,000 through an auction sponsored by Fox Sports Southwest for a memorial fund on the family’s behalf.

The Good in Sports recognizes the Texas Rangers for their honorable action in remembering Shannon Stone and allowing his family a special day at the ballpark.

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Copyright © 2011 The Good in Sports, Inc. All rights reserved.

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About Meredith Matthews

Growing up in a market boasting two Major League baseball teams, Meredith had to make a crucial decision on whether or not she would bleed Dodger Blue or Angel Red. Being the educated lady that she is, she made the only logical decision and pledged her allegiance to the Anaheim Angels. Meredith also has been known to “Fear the Beard” and proudly reps the San Francisco Giants as her NL favorite. While she lives and breathes baseball, she also enjoys a good Anaheim Ducks game and is a die-hard LSU football fan.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Texas Rangers: Remembering Shannon Stone

  1. What an incredible gesture by Ryan and Hamilton. What a tragedy this was, and for the family to have some good memories in the place of Shannon’s death is truly astounding. The team has gone above and beyond its call of duty, and this is why I believe they are one of the best organizations in sport. Your story is inspiring, thank you for sharing!

    Posted by blandy12 | October 2, 2011, 11:23 am
  2. Thanks so much for your kind words, Rob! This was a really special story to be able to share. I’m glad that they were able to make it a special day for the family and have plans to keep Shannon’s memory alive at the stadium.

    Posted by Meredith Matthews | October 2, 2011, 2:57 pm
  3. Fantastic story.

    Posted by Joe C. | October 4, 2011, 10:12 am
  4. First time here. Awesome blog and super post. Well done.

    Posted by Thom Cooney | October 4, 2011, 12:25 pm
  5. Thanks, Joe!

    Posted by Meredith Matthews | October 4, 2011, 2:25 pm
  6. Thanks so much, Thom!

    Posted by Meredith Matthews | October 4, 2011, 6:47 pm

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