Texas Rangers: Shannon Stone



ARLINGTON, Texas -- Sculptor Bruce Greene got the Shannon Stone statue just right.

He captured the interaction between a son and his father, symbolized with Stone and his son, Cooper, who was six years old when his father died from injuries sustained from his 20-foot fall over the outfield railing last July.

But the best thing about the statue is that it's more than just a memorial to Stone. It's called "Rangers Fans" and it's meant to celebrate what's great about baseball -- that it's a family game. I think this statue really does that. Stone is talking to his son, looking at him as they hold hands walking out of the park. And his son is smiling, excited about seeing a baseball game.

Cooper is seven now and was on hand for the ceremony. He jumped around and played near the statue after the unveiling was over, looking up at himself and his father. I wonder what that will be like for Cooper as he gets older and walks past that statue entering the ballpark.

But for those of us that were there that night -- and any father with a son that he likes to take to the ballgame -- the statue is a nice and fitting reminder. Stone will always be remembered now. And he can represent all Rangers fans -- all Rangers fathers, if you will -- as they take their sons to the game. I know I'll think of him when my three-year-old son, Owen, shows up at a ballgame with me soon.

It was a classy move by the organization to do this. It was nice to see the entire team out there for the ceremony, too. Josh Hamilton stuck around because the family wanted to take some pictures with him in front of the statue. He hugged various family members and spent time with Cooper.

So do yourself a favor on Opening Day or whenever you get to the ballpark this season. Go by the home plate gate, take a look at that statue and give thanks for your family and the great game of baseball. I did on Thursday afternoon.

Rangers release plans for Stone statue

November, 28, 2011
11/28/11
5:19
PM CT
The Texas Rangers released a statement Monday about plans for a statue to honor Shannon Stone:

Bruce Greene, who is known as one of the nation’s top Western artists and sculptors has been selected by the Texas Rangers to create a statue honoring the memory of Shannon Stone.

Rangers CEO and President Nolan Ryan made the announcement Monday.

“Bruce Greene is an accomplished sculptor with roots here in Texas,” commented Ryan. “He is a most appropriate artist to produce this statue which will become a part of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.”

The statue, which will be entitled Rangers Fans, will depict Mr. Stone and his six-year-old son Cooper attending a Rangers game. The full-size bronze statue will be located outside the Home Plate Gate of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Shannon Stone is the Brownwood, Texas, firefighter who passed away from injuries suffered in a tragic accident July 7, 2011, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Greene’s studio is located on his ranch in Norse, which is located near Clifton, Texas. His paintings and sculptures are exhibited in a number of museums and galleries throughout the United States including the Texas Rangers Museum in Waco, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, and the Phoenix (Ariz.) Art Museum.

Among his most well known works is the Immortal Ten Memorial on the campus of Baylor University. The sculpture was completed in 2007 on the 80th anniversary of the bus crash near Austin that killed ten players, coaches, and fans of the Baylor men’s basketball team.

Known as the Cowboy Artist of America, Greene’s many honors include the Ray Swanson Memorial Award, Gold Medal in Drawing and Other Media, and Silver Medal in Bronze. He is a two-time recipient of the TCAA (Traditional Cowboy Arts Association) presented to the artist whose work best portrays a traditional cowboy subject.

“Bruce will work closely with Jenny Stone and the Rangers on this project,” explained Ryan. “We anticipate that the statue should be completed and dedicated around the beginning of the 2012 season.”

The statue honoring Mr. Stone will be the third sculpture at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Full size bronze statues of Nolan Ryan and Tom Vandergriff were dedicated in 1997 and are located in the centerfield Vandergriff Plaza.

Statement from Jenny Stone on first pitch

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
4:33
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cooper Stone's mother, Jenny, issued this statement about her 6-year-old son getting the chance to throw out the first pitch before Friday's Game 1 of the ALDS:

"We want to once again thank Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers. They have turned a difficult return to The Ballpark into an 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."

Hamilton catches Stone's pitch, gives hug

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
4:04
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cooper Stone, the 6-year-old son of Shannon Stone, who died following injuries suffered in a fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 7, threw a strike to Josh Hamilton in the ceremonial first pitch before Friday's ALDS Game 1.

Cooper, a left-hander, walked to the mound with his mother, Jenny, and Rangers CEO and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Cooper stepped on the rubber and Hamilton came halfway out between home and the mound to catch the ball. He gave Cooper a hug, gave Jenny Stone a hug and said something to her for about 30 seconds or so before hugging her again. The sellout crowd cheered the entire time.

Back on July 7, Shannon Stone tried to catch a foul ball flipped to him by Hamilton, Cooper's favorite player, but fell over the left-field rail and about 20 feet. This was Cooper's first time back at the ballpark since that day.

Ryan reached out to Jenny Stone, widow of Shannon, to see if they'd like to come to a game.

"She had indicated to me earlier in the summer that Cooper was wanting to come out to a game, but she wasn't ready to deal with it," Ryan said a few hours before the game. "She told me that she felt like before the season was over that she would bring him back because she felt that was in his best interests, because this is what he was wanting to do."

That's how Friday's moment happened. Ryan said the Stones were in attendance with a party of 8, probably mostly family members.

Josh Hamilton to catch Cooper Stone's pitch

September, 30, 2011
9/30/11
1:45
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will catch 6-year-old Cooper Stone's ceremonial first pitch on Friday. Cooper is the son of Shannon Stone, the Brownwood firefighter who passed away on July 7 from injuries sustained in fall over the left-field rail. Stone was trying to catch a foul ball tossed to him by Hamilton and fell about 20 feet.

Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan said Hamilton is Stone's favorite player and that he checked with Hamilton, who said he'd like to do it.

"We felt it was very appropriate to have him come out," Ryan said. "He represents what we believe we're about. He is a very died-in-the-wool Ranger fan. We're honored that they were willing to come out and share the day with us."

Ryan said he's remained in contact with Stone's widow, Jenny, and talked to her again right before the season ended. They talked about Cooper coming out near the end of the season and settled on this postseason game. This is his first time back to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since July 7.

"She had indicated to me earlier in the summer that Cooper was wanting to come out to a game, but she wasn't ready to deal with it," Ryan said. "But she told me she felt like before the season was over, she would bring him back because she felt like that was in his best interest and that's what he wanted to do."

Ryan called and asked if they wanted to come out for the last homestand or if he would want to throw out a pitch. He said they felt this was appropriate.

Josh Hamilton likes idea of fan statue

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
6:10
PM CT

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who tossed the foul ball into the stands that Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone reached to catch before falling over the rail, is pleased the club is honoring Stone by erecting a statue at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

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Nolan Ryan dishes on a special tribute being built at Rangers Ballpark, his thoughts on the West Coast road trip, and more.

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The full-size bronze sculpture will depict Stone, who passed away from injuries sustained in the fall on July 7, and his 6-year-old son Cooper, who attended the game with him.

"I think it's great," Hamilton said. "It shows how baseball can create a bond between father and sons and family. It can be a pretty special thing."

Hamilton said he still hasn't talked with the Stone family. He wants to wait for the proper time and said he's been keeping up with how they are doing and will contact them when he feels "like they've had time to adjust and go through the grieving process."

Hamilton has altered how he handles flipping balls in stands. He still does it, not wanting to deprive fans of a chance to catch a baseball and have a memento of the game. But he won't throw them in high places or to fans near railings.
ANAHIEM, Calif. -- Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan said Monday that the planned statue of Shannon Stone and his 6-year-old son Cooper is not only as a memorial to Stone, the Brownwood firefighter who died from injuries suffered in a fall over the outfield railing on July 7, but also a tribute to all Rangers fans.

"I want the fans when they come in to see it and remember Shannon and Cooper and the fact that they represent what I think we're about, and that's making memories for our fans and family," Ryan said.

Ryan said it was his idea to erect the statue and he got approval from co-chairman of the board Ray Davis and Bob Simpson.

"Over a period of time after the accident, I got to thinking about what we as an organization could do and I thought it was appropriate," Ryan said.

Ryan said he hopes it's completed by Opening Day 2012 and the plan is to have it outside the stadium behind home plate.

Rangers to honor Stone with statue

August, 15, 2011
8/15/11
4:44
PM CT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Rangers announced today that they are erecting a full-size bronze statue of Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone and his 6-year-old son, Cooper, outside Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Stone passed away following injuries sustained in a fall over the left-center field railing on July 7. He was at the game with his son.

“We continue to be appreciative of Nolan Ryan and the Texas Rangers as we deal with the loss of Shannon,” said Jenny Stone, Shannon's wife, in a statement. “Shannon and Cooper had a special relationship, and we are touched and grateful that it will be memorialized at one of their favorite places.

“Our hope is that this statue will not be a symbol of our family tragedy but rather a reminder of the importance of a family's love - love of each other, love of spending time together, and love of the game.”

The statue will be the third sculpture at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, joining bronze statues of Ryan and Tom Vandergriff, which were dedicated in 1997 and are located in the Vandergriff Plaza in center field.
Before the 2011 Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game in Phoenix (just after the Futures Game the Sunday before the All-Star Game), ESPN's Erin Andrews had nearly all the players in the game sign a jersey to benefit the family of Shannon Stone, the Brownwood firefighter who died after falling about 20 feet over the rail in left-center in early July.

The jersey will be auctioned off starting July 28 at MLB.com with the proceeds going to the Memorial Fund for the Stone family set up by the Texas Rangers Foundation. The auction will last for a week.

Some of the nearly 30 celebrities who signed the jersey: Andrews, Nick Jonas, Jordin Sparks, Rickey Henderson, Joe Torre, Kate Upton, Chris Pratt, Greg Grunberg, Rollie Fingers, Chord Overstreet, James Denton, Larry Fitzgerald and many more, with signatures witnessed and documented by MLB authenticators.

Josh Hamilton helped by his faith

July, 11, 2011
7/11/11
6:08
PM CT

PHOENIX – Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton’s faith has been instrumental in his ability to deal with the tragedy at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington late last week. In many ways, he said it’s prepared him to handle the difficult times in his life, including Thursday’s passing of Brownwood firefighter Shannon Stone.

The 39-year-old fell over the left-field railing attempting to catch a foul ball thrown to him and his son, Cooper, by Hamilton.

“I don't know all of the answers to everything, but I have a relationship with God,” Hamilton said. “It's changed my life. In some ways, I feel like I was picked. In a lot of ways I feel like I was picked because in my situation I just happen to have faith. My family's handled it well also. It's been tough, but we've talked through some things and we've prayed a lot.”

PODCAST
Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company to talk about the funeral for Lt. Shannon Stone, the Rangers' winning heading into the All-Star break, and much more.

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Hamilton decided not to join Rangers representatives Nolan Ryan and Jim Sundberg at Monday’s funeral.

“Someone asked me last night if I was going to the funeral today,” said Hamilton, who addressed the tragedy in the first 10 minutes of his All-Star Game media availability on Monday and then took baseball questions. “I don't know Mr. Stone. I don't know his family, so I don't feel it's my place to be in an intimate setting such as that.

“I was also asked if I was going to reach out to the wife and son and family. I am, at the right time. As far as the grieving process as a family, I can't imagine what's going on with that. When I feel like the time is right and enough time has passed, I definitely will reach out and talk with his wife and little boy.”

Hamilton’s handling of the situation has impressed his teammates and the Rangers organization.

“I think Josh has done a great job of not internalizing what happened,” Michael Young said. “It was an accident. Tragic as it was, it was exactly that – an accident. Josh did nothing wrong. He shouldn’t change anything.

“I think the interaction between fans and players is one of the things that makes baseball special. I’m going to keep flipping balls in the stands to fans every chance I get. I’ve been very impressed with the way he’s relied on his faith in this. I think he puts it in the hands of a higher power. Because of that, he’s in a good place right now.”

Hamilton said he will still throw balls to fans, but will be a little more careful.

“It's going to impact and make a difference as far as throwing balls into the stands and reassessing the situation before you toss a ball up – where you’re tossing it to, how high up is it, all those things come into play,” Hamilton said. “It's just unfortunate. You take it for granted. It's an everyday occurrence. We do it a few times a day every day. You start taking things like that for granted.”

Hamilton reflected on what he called a “roller coaster” weekend. That included a walk-off home run to win Saturday’s game against the A’s, which included the traditional mobbing of his teammates at home plate.

“It was an emotional release not only for Josh, but for the rest of us,” Young said. “It was a tough couple of days. If you asked us or any of the guys that play for Oakland, baseball was not our top priority for those games in that series. Obviously, we’re thinking about a wife and a son. But once the game starts, we’re doing our best to focus on our jobs and trying to play baseball to the best of our ability. To have a bit of an emotional release, it was great for Josh and great for us."

Hamilton hopes the All-Star Game gives him and his wife Katie a chance to get away for a few days, enjoy himself and see so many friends from across baseball.

"I'd be lying to you if I said I haven't thought about what happened,” Hamilton said. “But I realize I can't do anything about it. It's good to be around these guys. I'm here with my wife. I get to spend some time with them."

Rangers set up memorial fund

July, 8, 2011
7/08/11
5:30
PM CT
The Rangers have set up a memorial fund to honor Shannon Stone, who died Thursday after falling 20 feet from the left-field seats while trying to catch a ball thrown his way.

Fans can click here for more information on the fund, set up by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

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