Shannon Stone's widow worried for son

Updated: July 9, 2011, 3:41 PM ET
ESPNDallas.com

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan says he spoke by telephone with the widow of the firefighter who died after a fall at Thursday night's game.

Shannon Stone
Stone

He says Jenny Stone told him that "she's very concerned about her son and the impact that this is having on him."

Shannon Stone, 39, fell over a railing in left field during Thursday night's game in Arlington, Texas, as he reached for a foul ball tossed to him by outfielder Josh Hamilton. Stone was at the game with his 6-year-old son, Cooper.

Jenny Stone, through Ryan, asked that the news media stop showing videos of the incident out of respect for her son. ESPN and MLB.com are honoring the request and have not posted video of the accident.

"She's very concerned about her son and the impact this is having on him and rightfully so," Ryan said. "She asked me if I could do anything about the video footage being shown by the news media. I told her I would do what I could."

After finding out Stone had died, Hamilton went home to be comforted by his wife and kids.

"Hearing the little boy screaming for his daddy and being home with my kids really hit home last night," he said Friday.

"That's one of the main things I remember. It's definitely on my mind and in my heart."

Ryan said Cooper rode in the front of the ambulance as his father was taken to the hospital.

"It's one of the saddest things I've ever seen at a ballpark," said Ryan, whose voice cracked slightly. "As I said earlier, it goes down to the basic roots of who we are and what we stand for. As a father and a grandfather, my heart goes out to that family."

Ryan also said that grief counseling has been made available to players.

"It's a very, very sad day for the Texas Rangers organization with the tragedy that we had last night," he said. "It hits us at our roots of what we are. We're about making memories, about family entertainment and last night we had a father and son at the game and had a very tragic incident. It drives it to the core of what we're about and the memories that we try to make in this game for our fans."

Arlington Fire Department officials told The Associated Press that Stone went "into full arrest" as he was transported by ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, where he was pronounced dead.

Stone is survived by his 36-year-old wife, Jenny, and son, according to Melanie Larose, a family friend who released a statement on behalf of the family Friday.

"The Stone family is devastated by this tragedy," the statement said. "The family appreciates your thoughts, kind words and prayers and asks that you respect their privacy during their difficult time."

A wake will be held Sunday, and Stone's funeral will be held Monday at the First United Methodist Church in Brownwood, Texas. The fire department will honor Stone with a full procession, including bagpipes, trucks and the entire staff in full uniform. Several fire departments in the surrounding areas have volunteered to cover the Brownwood fire department so all of its firefighters can attend.

Authorities said Friday that Stone died from blunt force trauma to the head caused by a fall from a height.

Stone's mother, Suzann, told The Associated Press her son had gone to the ballpark in hopes of catching a ball. Suzann Stone said Friday that Shannon Stone and his son had even stopped on the way to Arlington on Thursday to buy Cooper a new glove.

Stone and his son were "almost attached at the hip" and went to Rangers games often, including one of the team's World Series games last season, she said.

"That's what they were there for was to catch a ball," the 63-year-old mother and grandmother said Friday, choking back sobs. "Cooper loves baseball and he's a big Josh Hamilton fan. Had his jersey."

Suzann Stone said she was watching the game.

"Cooper told me where they were sitting so I could look for him on television," she said, adding that she was not watching when her son fell. "I missed it. I didn't see it."

Her youngest son, Chad Stone, called her late Thursday and broke the news to his parents. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office ruled Friday that Stone died from blunt force trauma caused by the fall.

Chief Del Albright of the Brownwood, Texas, fire department where Stone worked said the entire staff got together to talk about their fallen co-worker.

"He was so dedicated to his son and family and a dedicated firefighter," Albright said. "Whenever he was off duty, he was with his son. We had officer meetings and I would ask him to come in on his day off to attend those and nine out of 10 times he had his son with him. He was dependable. I left him in charge of many fires I went to because I knew he could handle it."

Stone was a firefighter for 18 years. In 2007, he and another firefighter ran into a smoke-filled home in nearby Bangs to rescue a woman in her 70s, according to story in the Brownwood Bulletin.

He told the paper he was only doing what any other firefighter would have.

Suzann Stone said her son was fun-loving and enjoyed being a father and a husband. For as long as she can remember he wanted to be a firefighter.

She and her husband "laughingly said Shannon said 'fire truck' before he said 'mommy' or 'daddy,'" Suzann Stone said from her home in Cleburne, about 115 miles northeast of Brownwood.

Stone would do all he could to make as many of Cooper's T-ball games -- even when he was on duty at the fire station, Suzann Stone said. He was a "wonderful son, father and person," she said.

"I always told him if he wasn't my son I would want him as my best friend," she said. "He was so good, so caring of everybody."

On Friday, both teams wore black ribbons on their uniforms, the flags at the park flew at half-staff and a moment of silence was observed before the start of the Rangers' 8-5 win.

The Texas Rangers Foundation has set up a memorial fund to help the Stone family, and Ryan said the team will malke a substantial donation to start it. Fans can go on the club's website to contribute.

Information from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett and The Associated Press was used in this report.