Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter, was attending the Texas Rangers-Oakland A's baseball game in Arlington late yesterday afternoon with his young son Cooper.
In the second inning, reigning A.L. MVP Josh Hamilton grabbed a foul ball that had ricocheted into left field and tossed it into the stands. Stone leaned over and caught the ball, but then fell over a railing and plunged twenty feet to the concrete below.
He died at a hospital a short time later.
|Photo by: MLB Images|
"He went straight down. I tried to grab him, but I couldn't," Hargis said. "I tried to slow him down a little bit."
Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler was in the visitor's bullpen in left-center field, not far from where Stone fell. According to Ziegler, when Stone was put on a stretcher, the firefighter told paramedics that his son was "up there by himself" and asked them to check on the boy.
"He had his arms swinging. He talked and was conscious," Ziegler said. "We assumed he was okay. But when you find out he's not, it's just tough."
|Photo by: Sharon Ellman|
Stone was a lieutenant with the Brownwood Fire Department, and had been with them nearly eighteen years, said City Manager Bobby Rountree. Brownwood is about one hundred fifty miles southwest of Arlington.
"We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball," team president Nolan Ryan said after the game. "As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we're very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family."
It was the second fatal fall at a major league stadium this season. In May, a 27-year-old man died after he fell about twenty feet and struck his head on the concrete during a Colorado Rockies-Arizona Diamondbacks game. Witnesses to that accident told police the man had been trying to slide down a staircase railing at Coors Field and lost his balance.