Thursday night turned somber for the Texas Rangers as they played the Oakland Athletics.
A 39-year-old fan attending the game in Arlington, Texas, with his young son fell 20 feet to his death while trying to catch a baseball thrown his way at the game, Sports Illustrated reports.
The ball was thrown to Shannon Stone, a firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, by Rangers outfielder and reigning American League Most Valuable Player Josh Hamilton, after he called out to the baseball player to throw him a foul ball. Stone fell over the railing in his attempt to catch it.
Hamilton “is very distraught over this, as the entire team is,” said team president Nolan Ryan.
“We had a very tragic accident tonight, and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball,” Ryan also said. “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.”
A fan seated next to Stone and his son, Ronnie Hargis, says he reached for his feet as he fell. “He went straight down,” he says. “I tried to grab him, but I couldn’t. I tried to slow him down a little bit.”
TV replays show Stone falling head first before landing behind a 14-foot-high wall that supports a score display. Although he was conscious when he was placed on a stretcher and taken to an ambulance, Stone died on the way to John Peter Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:20 p.m. after reportedly going into “full [cardiac] arrest.”