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Rangers unveil Shannon and Cooper Stone statue

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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Jenny and Cooper Stone look at the 'Rangers Fans' statue on Thursday as Nolan Ryan looks on. (AP)

There's no other way to say it: What a powerful image of a powerful statue.

Almost nine months after the worst tragedy in team history, the Texas Rangers unveiled their tribute to the father who died in a freak accident last summer while trying to secure a ball for his son. Entitled 'Rangers Fans' and standing just outside the home plate gate at Rangers Ballpark, the bronze statue depicts Shannon and Cooper Stone locked into a tender moment at a ballgame. Whether their conversation is being held on their way into or out of a ballgame seems immaterial. What's important is that it reflects the type of important interaction that happens thousands of times each night at ballparks across the country.

From the Associated Press:

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Josh Hamilton visits with Cooper Stone and a friend. (AP)

In creating the statue to honor Stone, sculptor Bruce Greene said it was important for him to depict the moment where fathers and sons are discussing the play-by-play after the game ...  Stone's widow, Jenny, attended the unveiling with her son but did not speak to the crowd, which included the team, Brownwood firefighters and Arlington emergency personnel. In a statement read at the ceremony, Stone's family said the statue represents what he believed in—his son, family, friends and having fun.

"Shannon lived life to the fullest, doing the things that brought him and others joy. We hope this statue reminds people of doing just that," the family said in the statement.

As I wrote in the wake of the tragedy last July, the Shannon Stone tragedy hit so close to home because it was hard not to think of all the times that we found ourselves in a similar situation. It saddened me that a lot of cynics and those without compassion didn't see things the same way, but perhaps this statue will provide a better reminder of what young Cooper Stone lost on that fateful day — and what many of us are lucky to still have.

Make sure you're ready for the season ahead ...
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