Rangers unveil statue of fan

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan stood back and smiled as he watched Shannon Stone's family take pictures -- with Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton -- and admire the newest statue in front of the home plate gate at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The sculpture, unveiled Thursday, features life-sized bronze statues of Stone, the 39-year-old Brownwood firefighter who died last July from injuries suffered in a fall at the park, and his then 6-year-old son, Cooper. The two are holding hands and looking at each other, chatting about a fun day at the ballpark. Both are wearing Rangers shirts and smiling.

Ryan said that sculptor Bruce Greene captured "that interchange between son and father reliving the ballgame coming out of the stadium" in the statue, titled "Rangers Fans."

"I felt like he had a real feel for that and it shows in the bronze and I couldn't be any happier about that," Ryan said. "We wanted to represent what goes on in this stadium every night with family and capturing that moment."

Greene spent some time with the Stone family and used photos to help recreate Shannon and Cooper Stone.

Cooper, now 7, was on hand for the ceremony with his mother and Shannon's widow, Jenny.

Shannon's parents, Al and SuZann Stone, were also in attendance along with Shannon's brother Chad, and Jenny's parents, Jim and Marilyn Pack.

The Rangers team, who had just completed a workout before Friday's Opening Day game with the Chicago White Sox, also attended and then said hello to family members, giving Cooper high-fives and handshakes.

Hamilton, who tossed the ball toward Shannon last July and has kept in touch at times with Jenny and Cooper, stayed around for pictures and to spend time with the family.

Members of the Arlington Fire Department Honor Guard and firefighters from Brownwood were also in attendance.