It was a typical Major League Baseball game Monday: Mascots, excited fans and well-paid athletes. But the real star inside Minute Maid Park was a 74-year-old great-grandmother from Washington, Texas, who was even sporting her own personalized bat.
"(It was) wonderful," said Wanda Shannon. "I've never had one with my own name before. I don't know if I've ever had a bat."
Shannon was honored with the first pitch for a battle she's been waging for 16 years. For the fourth time she's fighting cancer; this time it's reached stage four. When her granddaughter wrote the Astros and told them her story they decided to give Shannon the first pitch against the Rangers.
"She has a lot of bad days and it's pretty hard," said granddaughter Misty Acton. "So anything that can make her happy for a little while is just awesome."
With a big smile on her face, Shannon walked out onto the field, stood a few feet in front of the pitcher's mound and threw a pitch to Astros catcher Carlos Corporan. It had a short bounce into Corporan's glove, but it was a longtime dream fulfilled for a longtime Astros fan.
Shannon has advice for anyone else who might be fighting their own battle.
"It's never over unless you let it be over," said Shannon. "So you just keep the fight."