The mother of Shannon Stone, a Texas Rangers fan who fell to his death while reaching over to catch a baseball from Josh Hamilton, has told the player to "don't stop throwing.”
Hamilton, the Rangers outfielder, has expressed how distraught the whole ordeal has made him, and Major League Officials even thought about banning the practice of throwing baseballs into the crowd as souvenirs.
In an interview with The New York Times Magazine, Stone's parents, SuZann and Al, revealed stories about their son and his love for baseball.
"Shortly after the accident, there was some discussion about whether foul balls should be thrown into the stands to the fans. I wrote to Josh Hamilton, and I said: ‘Please, don't stop throwing those balls. Because that's so important. That's why daddies bring their little boys to the ballgame is for memories like that. Please don't stop,’" said SuZann to NYT.
Stone's parents recalled a story about him getting a baseball after his favorite ballplayer, Buddy Bell, hit a foul ball.
"Getting a ball is kind of like the holy grail of baseball. It’s one of the reasons you go, is hoping to get a souvenir of the game, a ball. To be able to catch one from Buddy Bell just made it so much more important," said Al, who caught the foul ball.
Hamilton and the Texas Rangers have been very supportive to the Stone family, and have provided them with tickets, special visits, and even honored Shannon at one of the games, allowing his young son to throw out the first pitch of the game.
"They always sat in the same place, because Josh Hamilton played left field," said SuZann in her interview. "They always sat so they could be out where Josh Hamilton was. That’s why they sat there, hoping they could catch a ball... I’m sure he thought, I can reach out there, I can get it, I can just stretch a little bit farther."
Upon falling, Stone was taken out on a stretcher and was asking about his son. "They had him on a stretcher, and they were carrying him out, and he was saying stuff,” said opposing teams pitcher, Brad Ziegler, reports Larry Brown Sports. “He was saying, ‘Please check on my son. I was here with my son,’ and people were saying, ‘We’ll check on your son. We’ll make sure he’s OK.’
Stone later died of his injuries in the hospital at the age of 39. He left behind a son, wife, and the legacy of a father's love.