Senior baseball player reflects on father’s influence

Remembering Shannon Stone 12 years later


photo or infographic by courtesy of Jenny Stone

10 FEET TALL. A statue of senior Cooper Stone and his father Shannon Stone was dedicated in 2012 by the Texas Rangers baseball team after Shannon lost his life in an accident in 2011 at the ballpark.

Over the past decade, thousands of Texas Rangers fans have entered The Ballpark in Arlington passing by a statue of a father and his son. Little know its significance, but the statue tells a sorrowful story that hits close to home for one senior baseball player. Tomorrow, when the baseball team hosts the Wildkat Baseball Family Day, there will be one dad missing the first pitch of his son’s senior season.

In July of 2011, Shannon Stone, a firefighter with the Brownwood Fire Department fell 20 feet during a Ranger’s game while attempting to catch a ball for his son. After the incident, The Texas Ranger’s dedicated a statue of him and his son outside of the stadium in Arlington. Almost 12 years later, his son Cooper is starting his senior baseball season. He has played for the varsity team for two years of his high school career, and this year will be his final season playing organized baseball. 

“My dad was a good person who always did the right thing,” senior Cooper Stone said. “He served Brownwood as a firefighter and worked his way up to lieutenant by the time of his passing. Baseball was the sport we bonded over, and I love baseball because he loved it.”

Cooper’s mother is one of Willis High School’s assistant principals and has been a major source of love and support for Cooper after his father’s passing. 

CONCENTRATION ON THE MOUND. At a game last season, senior Cooper Stone takes his turn as pitcher for the Wildkats. Stone’s love for the sport started young when his dad would play with him and take him to Texas Ranger games. (photo or infographic by Cooper York)

“After my husband’s passing we moved to Willis for a fresh start,” Assistant Principal Jenny Stone said. “It was hard but we needed it. Seeing Cooper all grown up is one of those bittersweet feelings. I am so proud of Cooper, and I am excited for his next chapter. I have been with him all four years of high school, and it makes me sad he won’t be with me everyday next year. It has always been just me and Cooper against the world, so it’ll be hard when that changes next year.”

Cooper is on the varsity squad this year as a pitcher and has been playing baseball his whole life. His father had a major influence on the passions that he still continues today. 

“My dad was the epitome of leading by example,” Cooper said. “As a kid and even now dedicated at Arlington, he was ten feet tall. When I play, I just want to play well and play the right way. Everything I do is to make sure he would be proud of what I am doing today.”

As a senior in high school, Cooper’s life is on the cusp of beginning. His plans after high school closely resemble his father’s passions. 

“After high school I plan on attending Sam Houston State University because I want to stay close to home in order to take care of my mom,” Cooper said. “I am set on eventually going to fire school and becoming a firefighter. It is everything I have ever wanted to do and I plan on completing it.”