ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton didn't hesitate to give Cooper Stone a hug in front of 50,498 fans prior to Friday's Game 1 of the ALDS.
Hamilton caught the 6-year-old's ceremonial first pitch and then embraced him and Cooper's mother, Jenny, sharing a moment together near the mound with Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan.
Cooper's father, Shannon, died from injuries sustained from a fall of about 20 feet over the left-field rail on July 7 as he tried to catch a foul ball flipped to him by Hamilton.
Ryan reached out to Jenny over the past few weeks and she decided it was time for her and Cooper to return to the ballpark for the first time since the tragedy.
"It was pretty special and just having him be out there and having mom there, Jenny, was pretty emotional," Hamilton said. "Obviously, she was more emotional than he was. He’s just 6 years old. It was just a good moment. I’ve wondered how the moment would be when it happened. I expected emotions wrapped up with it and excitement for the little one. But overall, it was a good experience."
Hamilton came out halfway between the mound and home plate to catch Cooper's pitch and talked briefly with Jenny afterward.
"I asked her if they were believers in Christ," Hamilton said. "She said they were. I said, ‘Well, we know where your husband is right now and make sure that the little one knows who is daddy was and what he stood for. Make sure he understands that.’"