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View Full Version : Accident victim's son throws out ALDS first pitch



fadedmario
09-30-2011, 06:59 PM
ARLINGTON -- For the first time since a tragic ballpark accident took his father's life on July 7, Cooper Stone, 6, returned to Rangers Ballpark on Friday. A sustained ovation greeted Cooper and his mother, Jenny, from a packed house gathered for Game 1 of Texas' American League Division Series against Tampa Bay.

With Rangers president Nolan Ryan accompanying them, Cooper and his mom walked to the mound. Cooper, a lefty, was wearing a personalized team jersey.

Hamilton came off the line of Rangers assembled along the first-base line for the pregame introductions and took a crouch midway between home plate and the mound. After handling young Cooper's ceremonial first pitch, a strike, Hamilton had a few words with him before hugging Mrs. Stone and engaging her in conversation.

Amid the cheering, fans could be seen with tears running down their cheeks. It was an emotional beginning to the postseason for Texas and its fans, still recovering from the trauma of the loss of Shannon Stone.

"We want to once again thank Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers," Jenny Stone said in a statement. "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."

Stone, 39, fell from a railing in the left-field bleachers while trying to catch a souvenir baseball tossed in his direction by Hamilton at the close of the second inning against the A's.

Stone died of blunt-force trauma as he was being taken to a local hospital within an hour of his estimated 20-foot fall to the concrete below. Cooper was riding in the ambulance, in the front seat, when his father passed away.

Ryan has remained in touch with Shannon's widow, and it was the legendary strikeout artist's pitch that Cooper make his return to the stadium on this special occasion.

"I ... stayed in contact with Jenny to see if she had any needs we might be able to assist with," Ryan said. "She and I ... discussed the fact that Cooper wanted to come to another ballgame, and that Jenny would be up for coming at the appropriate time.

"A couple of weeks ago, I called her with one homestand left and wanted to bounce [the idea] off her to see how she felt about having him throw out the first pitch. She said she was honored.

"We felt it was very appropriate to have him come out. He represents what we think we're about. He's a dyed-in-the-wool Ranger fan, and he's [was] able to throw out the first pitch to his favorite player."

Hamilton, understandably devastated in the aftermath of the accident, "has handled it well," according to Ryan.

"I went to Josh before we decided anything," Ryan said. "We didn't want to put Josh in an awkward situation, and he was comfortable with it."

Hamilton was moved by being asked to participate in the ceremony. It was his first meeting with the Stone family since the tragedy.

"I think it's pretty cool," he said before the game. "I don't know where they are in the grieving process, but Nolan asked if I was OK with it and I said, 'Sure,' if they were. It will be exciting, emotional, everything."

Shannon Stone, a member of the Brownwood (Texas) Fire Department for 19 years, twice was voted Firefighter of the Year by his peers. He reached the rank of lieutenant, and also worked as a paramedic and rescue technician at Texas Motor Speedway. He was also involved in disaster relief following Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, as well as fighting wildfires.

Hamilton's tale of recovery from substance abuse to scaling the heights of his profession is ongoing. Ryan continues to marvel at what the 2010 AL Most Valuable Player has accomplished, personally and professionally.

Hamilton began his professional career in Tampa Bay's organization, a ballyhooed prospect taken first overall in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. Lapsing into substance abuse, he was out of the game for three years before making a comeback with Cincinnati in 2007. He was dealt to the Rangers a year later, and has taken flight as one of the sport's elite players.

"It's hard for us to comprehend what he's been through to get to where he is today," Ryan said. "If you look at it, that is a tremendous story that he's been able to handle his addiction the way he has. And it starts with the support of his family and [wife] Kate.

"It's been a true success story, what he does on an everyday basis. It truly is a phenomenal story."

The Rangers are embarking on their second consecutive postseason as AL West champions, having reached the World Series last year, before the Giants prevailed.

Ryan liberally praised his team for winning 96 games, while enduring a summer of record heat in Texas.

"It speaks volumes about the character of the ballclub," Ryan said. "I couldn't be prouder of these guys."

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110930&content_id=25401506&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

goldenstater
09-30-2011, 07:25 PM
thats heartbreaking for that family! so so sad, but hopefully this is a positive moment that this young man and his Mom will never forget. i hope and pray this affects his life in a positive way as he grows up and becomes a man.

todu82
09-30-2011, 08:15 PM
I thought it was a nice touch by the Rangers to do this for that family.

LionsFan..LOL
09-30-2011, 08:16 PM
Very nice move by the Rangers :clap: :clap: :clap:

dodgersuck
09-30-2011, 08:32 PM
good stuff

T 980
09-30-2011, 09:07 PM
I tear up anytime I read about this story. Being a young dad who's dying to take his son to his first game, I couldn't imagine my son being put through something like that.

Nolan Ryan and the Rangers are full of class for doing something like this. :clap:

ManningToTyree
09-30-2011, 09:18 PM
Well done Ryan, Hamilton and The Rangers organization :clap:

Ares
09-30-2011, 09:20 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

turnaround3
09-30-2011, 09:50 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

I seriously hope a bus hits you.

justndav
09-30-2011, 09:58 PM
A class move by the Rangers. A moment that little boy will keep with him the rest of his life, something positive for him to remember in what has been no doubt a very bad year for him. And Hamilton, a touching move that he didn't have to do.

TO Rapz
09-30-2011, 10:20 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

Not cool at all.

Good move by the Rangers, and like the others said, I hope that this is something positive to build on for that kid, and he grows up to be a good man. I really feel for that family, and it was just something unfortunate. Classy act by the Rangers, now we need to move on and understand that **** happens, but its what you do with your life after that **** happens.

knicks_champ
09-30-2011, 11:20 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

What was the point of that....

mark1125
09-30-2011, 11:29 PM
Very classy and appropriate. :clap:

kmo429
09-30-2011, 11:38 PM
Classy. Really nice thing to do to for family. Video anyone? Id liek to see it.

Chi StateOfMind
09-30-2011, 11:42 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

Wow. Ur a dick. Bet u think ur cool dont u?

Classy move by the Rangers, and Josh Hamilton.

Sick Of It All
09-30-2011, 11:48 PM
If that was me as a kid I would probably never would of gone back to that stadium, kid has heart.

Raps18-19 Champ
09-30-2011, 11:57 PM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

This is a serious topic. Someone died and they are trying to ease the pain for the family. Especially for a child who will grow up without a dad.

No need for jokes.

mark1125
10-01-2011, 12:12 AM
This is a serious topic. Someone died and they are trying to ease the pain for the family. Especially for a child who will grow up without a dad.

No need for jokes.

Don't feed the douchebag newbie troll. Just sniffing for cheap attention.

WHODAT8o8
10-01-2011, 12:14 AM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

You got issues man. Grow up.

ichitownclowni
10-01-2011, 12:17 AM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

You are the sickest person in this world you sick basterd

Raps18-19 Champ
10-01-2011, 12:23 AM
If that was me as a kid I would probably never would of gone back to that stadium, kid has heart.

I wouldn't have either. I'd probably have a lot of anger and regret towards Hamilton too.

thenetslegend
10-01-2011, 12:35 AM
If that was me as a kid I would probably never would of gone back to that stadium, kid has heart.

really? it wasnt the stadiums fought

fadedmario
10-01-2011, 01:38 AM
I'm a father of a son a little younger than the kid involved in this. I can tell all of you - My two biggest fears in life are leaving my kids too early or something happening to one of them. I feel so bad for the kid involved. This was a freak accident and there really is nothing good to take away from it. To the people on here that don't have kids or are just kids themselves. Some day you'll probably have children of your own and stories like this one scare the hell out of you. I hope the kid has a strong family to lean on and makes it through his life knowing that his dad loved him every second he was here (I guarantee it). There is no bond stronger than the bond between a father and a son. And for the guy that cracked a joke about this - it's tasteless and wrong. I know this is just the internet and you can say whatever you want - but put yourself in the shoes of the family affected by this before you make jokes.

americaspasttim
10-01-2011, 01:45 AM
I'm a father of a son a little younger than the kid involved in this. I can tell all of you - My two biggest fears in life are leaving my kids too early or something happening to one of them. I'm feel so bad for the kid involved. This was a freak accident and there really is nothing good to take away from it. To the people on here that don't have kids or are just kids themselves. Some day you'll probably have children of your own and stories like this one scare the hell out of you. I hope the kid has a strong family to lean on and makes it through his life knowing that his dad loved him every second he was here (I guarantee it). There is no bond stronger than the bond between a father and a son. And for the guy that cracked a joke about this - it's tasteless and wrong. I know this is just the internet and you can say whatever you want - but put yourself in the shoes of the family affected by this before you make jokes.
This...

Raps18-19 Champ
10-01-2011, 02:06 AM
really? it wasnt the stadiums fought

But the memories it would bring back just being in there...

fadedmario
10-01-2011, 02:11 AM
But the memories it would bring back just being in there...

They said the kid loves baseball and Josh Hamilton was his favorite player. Even under the horrible circumstances - it was probably pretty cool for the kid to get a hug from his favorite player.

fadedmario
10-01-2011, 02:16 AM
ARLINGTON, Texas -- With 50,000 fans on their feet, many with tears in their eyes, 6-year-old Cooper Stone stood on the pitcher's mound and tossed the ceremonial first pitch of the playoffs to his favorite player, Josh Hamilton.

Cooper is the boy who saw his firefighter father fall to his death while trying to catch a ball thrown to him by Hamilton during a Texas game on July 7. This was his first trip back to Rangers Ballpark, and it came at the center of a huge stage, with his widowed mother, Jenny, and Rangers president Nolan Ryan by his side.

Wearing a Rangers jersey featuring Hamilton's No. 32, and "Cooper" between the shoulders, the boy threw the ball on a line to Hamilton, who was crouched like a catcher about halfway to home plate. The outfielder -- who has been through his share of personal struggles -- stood to catch it, then pumped his fist, smiling wide the whole time.

Then he went to the front of the mound to meet Cooper and Jenny for the first time.

Hamilton embraced the boy, then his mother. He held her for a while, speaking words that made it tough for her to control her emotions.

"I just asked her if they were believers in Christ and she said they were. I said, 'Well, we know where your husband is right now. Make sure that the little one knows who his daddy was and what he stood for,"' Hamilton said.

Jenny Stone appeared to thank Hamilton. They hugged again, then Hamilton -- whose wife gave birth to their third daughter only a few weeks ago -- gave Cooper another hug, too. The reigning AL MVP started heading to the dugout, only to realize he still had the ball. So he reached back and gave it to Cooper.

A security guard met Cooper as he reached the dirt in front of the Texas dugout and gave him a fist bump. Nelson Cruz was the first of many Rangers waiting at the steps of the dugout to slap hands with the boy. His mother wiped tears as she walked away with Ryan.

"They have turned a difficult return to The Ballpark into a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Cooper," Jenny Stone said in a statement issued by the team. "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."

Cooper, his mom and six more in their group sat in front-row seats one section closer to home plate than Ryan. When Hamilton singled in his first at-bat, Cooper jumped up and down, twirling a red towel.

"We're just honored that they were willing to come out and do that and share the day with us," Ryan said.

Shannon Stone was reaching for the ball thrown by Hamilton when he fell headfirst about 20 feet, landing on concrete behind the outfield wall. Cooper was his only child, and the two were extremely close, with the nearly three-hour drive from their home in Brownwood to Rangers games among their favorite activities together.

The Rangers recently announced plans to build a statue of Shannon and Cooper Stone outside the home-plate entrance as a tribute to them, and to all fans. The team hopes to unveil it by opening day next season. The club also is planning to raise the railing throughout the stadium.

A memorial fund started by the team on the family's behalf recently received more than $150,000 from an auction sponsored by Fox Sports Southwest, the team's main broadcaster.

"I call (Jenny) periodically just to see how she's doing and see if they have any needs that we might be able to assist with," Ryan said. "It's been ongoing since the accident."

Ryan also discussed with Jenny Stone the best time for Cooper to return to the stadium.

The boy wanted to come sooner, but Jenny "wasn't ready to deal with it," Ryan said. However, she realized that coming back "was in (Cooper's) best interests, because this is what he was wanting to do."

A few weeks ago, Ryan called to invite them for the final homestand. Knowing the playoffs were likely, he also invited them to not only come to the game, but to throw out the first pitch. The Rangers played the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of their AL division series, which also happened to be the first game of the entire postseason.

"He represents what we believe we're about and he is a very dyed-in-the-wool Ranger fan," Ryan said.

Ryan also made sure Hamilton felt comfortable being part of this. Hamilton is a recovering substance abuser whose career nearly was derailed by his personal demons.

"I went to Josh before we decided anything and asked Josh how he felt about it, because I didn't want to put Josh in any awkward position," Ryan said.

Hamilton said he prayed to help steel himself for the moment, and to know what to say.

"The Lord gave me words at the right time," he said. "I'm not good with speeches. Not good with knowing what I'm going to say before. Because I rehearse it too much and it don't sound genuine. So I just kind of let it happen. It worked out good. ... You could tell she was really emotional about coming back to the park. The little one, he's young enough where he understands but at the same time it's not as emotional for him as it is mom."

Cooper and his family sat near the Rangers' on-deck circle, and Hamilton gladly caught the boy's eye several times. It was a nice counter to the scoreboard in a game the Rangers lost 9-0.

"Just to see the smile on his face and him enjoying himself," Hamilton said, "it was pretty special to see."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-son-of-fallen-rangers-fan-throws-1st-pitch-of-playoffs-20110930,0,5335025.story

Yankees90.
10-01-2011, 04:32 AM
Guess he brought his bad luck to the Rangers :cool:

:facepalm:

Your a piece of sh**

Hopper15
10-01-2011, 04:40 AM
Agreed very classy move by the rangers.

You could see David Wells was very emotional right before commercial break.

Jamiecballer
10-01-2011, 10:02 AM
that was awesome. very touching. as mentioned above coming back to the ballpark especially this soon shows a ton of courage.

Tragedy
10-01-2011, 01:22 PM
Awesome stuff. That video made me tear up. That kid is a trooper.

thefeckcampaign
10-01-2011, 03:06 PM
What was the point of that....To be a *******.

Daaaarryyl
10-01-2011, 04:00 PM
:facepalm:

Your a piece of sh**

+1

Raps18-19 Champ
10-01-2011, 04:35 PM
They said the kid loves baseball and Josh Hamilton was his favorite player. Even under the horrible circumstances - it was probably pretty cool for the kid to get a hug from his favorite player.

True.

But still, I'd be on the hesitant side of things that would remind me of a loved ones' death.

RevisIsland
10-01-2011, 05:00 PM
Nice story, good job on the Rangers part.

bears88
10-01-2011, 05:22 PM
what a heartwarming story !!!!!!

turnaround3
10-01-2011, 06:13 PM
Um...

Did anyone catch the part about the Rangers building a statue outside the ballpark by Opening Day of the kid and his dad?

Their heart's in the right place, but that seems like just an absolutely awful idea to me. Obviously the statue will depict the father and son enjoying a game together, sitting in the seats, and not the poor guy falling over the ledge, but I don't understand why you'd want to memorialize an incident like that. I don't want to say it's disrespectful, because that certainly isn't their intention, but it just seems, honestly, I can't think of a word other than stupid. It seems stupid to me.

thenetslegend
10-01-2011, 10:29 PM
Um...

Did anyone catch the part about the Rangers building a statue outside the ballpark by Opening Day of the kid and his dad?

Their heart's in the right place, but that seems like just an absolutely awful idea to me. Obviously the statue will depict the father and son enjoying a game together, sitting in the seats, and not the poor guy falling over the ledge, but I don't understand why you'd want to memorialize an incident like that. I don't want to say it's disrespectful, because that certainly isn't their intention, but it just seems, honestly, I can't think of a word other than stupid. It seems stupid to me.

agreed

fadedmario
10-01-2011, 11:24 PM
Agreed also.

Pinstripe pride
10-03-2011, 09:48 AM
very nice and classy move by the rangers

benzni
10-03-2011, 12:26 PM
amazing and well respected move by the Rangers, Hamilton, and the fans