Josh Hamilton to keep up fan interaction
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said that he will continue to throw balls into the stands to fans and appreciates the support for that endeavor from Shannon Stone's mother, SuZann Stone, who wrote the slugger a letter urging him to keep handing out souvenirs.
Shannon Stone passed away from injuries sustained in a fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in July when he tried to catch a foul ball tossed to him by Hamilton. Stone reached over a railing and dropped about 20 feet.
"My intent will continue to be to toss baseballs to fans in the stands," Hamilton said Friday in response to stories written about SuZann Stone's desire for him to continue to give fans souvenir balls. "However, I am also very mindful that this needs to be done in the right circumstances. Giving away baseballs during a game is an important part of how we interact with our fans. I assess each situation to make certain it is done safely. I appreciate the comments by Mrs. Stone and my prayers are with the Stone family."
SuZann Stone first talked to the New York Times Magazine about wanting Hamilton to keep throwing foul balls.
"I just didn't want him to stop," SuZann Stone later told the Associated Press. "How sad that would be because that's what little boys and their daddies go for. This was just an accident."
Shannon Stone was a Brownwood firefighter for 18 years and attended the game with his son Cooper, who was six years old at the time. The Rangers are building a statue at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as a way of reminding fans that baseball is a family game.
SuZann Stone told the AP that she hasn't heard back from Hamilton.
"Really, I didn't expect that I would. I wanted him to let him know our heartfelt sorrow for him," she said. "No way did we feel he was responsible for the accident. He was doing a really nice thing and it just didn't turn out right."
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.