Josh Hamilton
Texas rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. Image: Keith Allison/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Thursday night in Arlington, Texas, a fan tried to catch a foul ball at a Rangers game. The man slipped and fell 20 feet to his death. Player Josh Hamilton, who threw the ball, is reportedly very distraught.

Slipped trying to catch a foul ball

The man, 39-year-old Shannon Stone, a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, was attending the game with his son. The incident happened during the second inning of a game with the Oakland Athletics at 7:33 p.m. Conor Jackson, the right fielder for Oakland, hit a foul ball down the left-field line. All-Star outfielder Josh Hamilton retrieved the ball and threw it into the crowd. Stone leaned out to catch the ball when he slipped and fell about 20 feet near the Athletics bullpen.

Stone’s friend Ronnie Hargis tried to grab him as he fell, but failed. “He went straight down. I tried to grab him, but I couldn’t,” Hargis said.

Conscious after the fall

Stone was conscious when when he was attended to by stadium medical personnel. He was placed on s stretcher and carried to an ambulance. Brad Ziegler, a relief pitcher for Oakland, witnessed the event:

“They had him on a stretcher. He said, ‘Please check on my son. My son was up there by himself.’ The people who carried him out reassured him. ‘Sir, we’ll get your son, we’ll make sure he’s OK.’ He had his arms swinging. He talked and was conscious. We assumed he was OK. But when you find out he’s not, it’s just tough.”

Stone suffered a full cardiac arrest on the way to John Peter Smith hospital. He was pronounced dead at 8:26 p.m.

Hamilton ‘very distraught’

Josh Hamilton, who has sobered up after his much-publicized battles with drug addiction and alcoholism, has been making a successful comeback. Hamilton was reported to be sobbing when he heard the news of Stone’s death.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan said, “As any of us would be, Josh is very distraught over this.”

A strange coincidence

A year ago almost to the day, another firefighter, Tyler Morris, also fell from the second level at a Rangers game when he tried to catch a foul ball. Morris survived, but suffered a sprained ankle and skull fracture.

Sources

International Business Times: http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/176649/20110708/josh-hamilton-rangers-fan-death.htm
Sporting News: http://aol.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2011-07-07/fan-dies-in-fall-from-stands-at-texas-rangers-game?icid=maing-grid7|maing9|dl2|sec1_lnk3|76466
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/texas-rangers-fan-dies-after-fall-while-trying-to-catch-ball-from-josh-hamilton/2011/07/08/gIQAMVCY3H_blog.html

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