Fan Dies Catching Josh Hamilton's Tossed Ball

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What probably started out as an idyllic day at Rangers Ballpark for firefighter Shannon Stone and his young son turned tragic when Stone toppled to his death reaching for a foul  ball tossed into the stands.

Stone fell over a railing in left field during the second inning of Thursday's game as he tried to catch a ball thrown by Texas All-Star Josh Hamilton who was reported to be devastated by the event. Hamilton said he could hear 6-year-old Cooper Stone screaming for his dad after the man tumbled over an outfield railing and fell 20 feet onto the concrete below.

Hamilton says he remembers the man's fall "like it happened in slow motion." He also remembers the screams of the little boy who came to the game with his dad in hopes of catching a ball.

How many times have you gone to a game hoping to come home with a ball? It's a treasure almost every baseball fan dreams about. Chances are Stone wanted that treasure for his son, as a way to commemorate their great day at the ballpark together. Instead, the young boy will probably have nightmares just thinking about a ball game.

By all accounts Hamilton is a great guy. Never in a million years could he imagine that tossing a ball up to a fan as a nice gesture would result in such a freak accident. The fact is, Hamilton rarely does it. But when Stone called out to him, he saw the father and his son and promised with a nod of his head that he would send the next ball their way. Surely he'll question that decision for the rest of his life. 

Rangers manager offered Hamilton time off but he played again Friday night against the Athletics only to be part of another bizarre incident. During his sixth inning at-bat, Hamilton sliced a foul ball into the stands where it struck a teenage boy in the face requiring him to get stitches.

Obviously this incident in no way compares to the tragedy on Thursday, but you can't help but wonder how Hamilton found himself at the center of another accident on the heels of Stone's death. Thoughts and prayers go out to Hamilton and more importantly the Stone family as they try to cope with their devastating loss.



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