The relationship between a father and son at a baseball game has been romanticized in movies and literature since the beginning of the game.
It holds a bit more significance to the Texas Rangers, who display the statue of Shannon and Cooper Stone holding hands just outside Globe Life Park to honor that bond after the tragic accident in 2012.
So when Byron Anderson smashed a pitch over the left-field wall Saturday to win season tickets as part of the Swing For Your Seats promotion, his past few years came full circle as he trotted the base paths in true Roy Hobbs fashion.
As someone with a tattoo of the New York Knights lightning bolt patch on his arm, his moment was made even more special that his son, Bronson, was the first to greet him at home plate.
“I didn’t think of it as a tear-shed kind of moment at the time, but once we went out to dinner and soaked it all in, I realized that this kid’s going to remember that forever,” Anderson said.
Anderson’s home run has thrust him into the spotlight as someone who bet $2,000 on himself and delivered. The Rangers upgraded his season ticket package to the Lexus Club level, and he’s made appearances on local TV stations, ESPN and KTCK “The Ticket.”
But to truly grasp Anderson’s story is to understand how that home run brought his relationship with Bronson full circle.
Before Anderson became a middle school teacher and coach, he worked for KTCK and ESPN Radio in Dallas. He worked closely with the Rangers as a member of the media from 2006 to 2011, and he was right in the middle of both World Series runs.
As a lifelong Rangers fan, the job was as good as it got. But it didn’t offer a robust benefits package, and when Bronson was born premature, it took a financial and emotional toll on Anderson and his wife, Mary.
He had a decision to make. He could continue on his sports media career path and stress to take care of Bronson, or he could settle into coaching with the background he had playing college baseball at Tarleton State.
Because that option offered a much better benefits package, Anderson gave up his career in sports media and now works at Fossil Hill Middle School in the Keller school district.
“It was just the right decision for me at the time. It was a little hard to give that all up, but I did eventually realize that I enjoy being a role model for my kids,” Anderson said.
When the Rangers announced the promotion, Anderson was interested but hesitant. After all, $2,000 is a lot of money to put down when you’re supporting two children. But having played college ball at Tarleton State, Anderson knew he was capable of hitting a home run given the chance.
“I’ve always been a big guy, so I could hit a lot home runs,” he said. “I couldn’t do much else, but one thing I could always do was hit.”
The promotional rules stipulated that nobody who played college or professional ball was eligible, so Anderson reached out to Chuck Morgan for clarification. Morgan told him if he could put money down for seats and hit a home run, they’d count it.
So with the help of a few friends who pitched in to help raise the $2,000, Anderson and his family came from Bronson’s flag football game to Globe Life Park with a chance to swing away.
The video has been shared all around the area, but Anderson is thankful one viewer in Troy, Kan., was able to see it before he passed away. Anderson’s grandfather, who’d been in hospice care, was shown the video before he died Sunday.
“My aunt and my grandma showed him the video of me. He kind of made a noise, so we know he heard it,” Anderson said. “To know that he saw it before he passed … that’s really special to me.”
With one swing, Anderson gave his family a moment they’ll never forget. And now he and his son will have the chance to walk past the “Rangers Fans” statue at Globe Life Park after every game this year.