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Texas Rangers fan who died at game to be honored with statue

By the CNN Wire Staff
The statue will depict Shannon Stone and his son 6-year-old son Cooper attending a Texas Rangers baseball game.
The statue will depict Shannon Stone and his son 6-year-old son Cooper attending a Texas Rangers baseball game.
  • Shannon Stone and his son will be depicted in a bronze statue, the Rangers say
  • Stone, 39, died in July after falling over a railing at Rangers Ballpark
  • He was trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands

(CNN) -- A Texas Rangers fan who fell over a railing while trying to catch a ball will have a place at Rangers Ballpark next season after the team erects a statue in his memory.

Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, fell to his death July 7. His 6-year-old son Cooper witnessed the accident.

"The statue, which is tentatively to be named Rangers Fans, is expected to be in place for the 2012 season," the Texas Rangers announced in a statement Monday. It will depict Stone and his son attending a Rangers game.

"The full-size bronze statue is likely to be located outside the home plate gate of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington," the Rangers said.

The tragedy took place in the second inning of the ill-fated game. Star outfielder Josh Hamilton tossed a souvenir ball into the stands after a batter hit a foul ball. Stone stuck out his glove and reached for the ball, but lost his balance and flipped over the railing of the outfield seats. He fell about 20 feet and crashed head-first into an area near a scoreboard.

Remembering Shannon Stone

Stone died of blunt-force trauma, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

Rangers President Nolan Ryan, a Hall of Fame pitcher, has said the club would review the height of railings at the stadium, even though they already exceeded the city's code limits.

The team has set up an account accepting donations in Stone's honor with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation. Donated money has been earmarked to help the Stone family. The Rangers have donated an undisclosed sum, according to the team's website.

Stone's widow, Jenny, said she appreciates Ryan and the Rangers during the family's time of loss.

"Shannon and Cooper had a special relationship, and we are touched and grateful that it will be memorialized at one of their favorite places," she said in the statement. "Our hope is that this statue will not be a symbol of our family tragedy but rather a reminder of the importance of a family's love -- love of each other, love of spending time together, and love of the game."

CNN's Sara Pratley contributed to this report.