Hamilton catches Stone's pitch, gives hug

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Cooper Stone, the 6-year-old son of Shannon Stone, who died following injuries suffered in a fall at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 7, threw a strike to Josh Hamilton in the ceremonial first pitch before Friday's ALDS Game 1.

Cooper, a left-hander, walked to the mound with his mother, Jenny, and Rangers CEO and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan. Cooper stepped on the rubber and Hamilton came halfway out between home and the mound to catch the ball. He gave Cooper a hug, gave Jenny Stone a hug and said something to her for about 30 seconds or so before hugging her again. The sellout crowd cheered the entire time.

Back on July 7, Shannon Stone tried to catch a foul ball flipped to him by Hamilton, Cooper's favorite player, but fell over the left-field rail and about 20 feet. This was Cooper's first time back at the ballpark since that day.

Ryan reached out to Jenny Stone, widow of Shannon, to see if they'd like to come to a game.

"She had indicated to me earlier in the summer that Cooper was wanting to come out to a game, but she wasn't ready to deal with it," Ryan said a few hours before the game. "She told me that she felt like before the season was over that she would bring him back because she felt that was in his best interests, because this is what he was wanting to do."

That's how Friday's moment happened. Ryan said the Stones were in attendance with a party of 8, probably mostly family members.