After catching up with several former teammates, including good friend Roy Oswalt, Stone, who pitched for the Astros from 2001-04, returned to his home in Hamilton, Ohio, and soon suffered a grand mal seizure. He was later diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
The Stone family, which includes Ricky, his wife, Tracey, and two young children, needs financial assistance, and the baseball community has stepped up to help the cause. Behind the efforts of pitcher Nelson Figueroa and his wife, Alisa, dozens of items of baseball memorabilia are available to the highest bidder through an online auction, Rally for Recovery.
The auction items will be listed on eBay under "Recovery for Baseball Auction" in random order from 8-10 p.m. CST beginning Sunday. The auction will end Nov. 30.
The items include autographed jerseys, caps and baseballs from the Yankees signed on Sept. 21, the day the Yankees played their last game at Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter contributed one of the jerseys he wore in that historic game, along with signed jerseys from Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera and a signed cap from Yogi Berra.
Other highlights of the auction of signed baseball memorabilia include a selection of game-used items: a catcher's mask worn by Astros catcher Brad Ausmus, a cap worn by Oswalt, a bat used by Red Sox second baseman Mark Bellhorn during Boston's 2004 World Series championship season, spikes worn by Padres shortstop Khalil Greene and a baseball used in practice by Mets pitcher Johan Santana before his three-hit shutout on the next to the last game at Shea Stadium.
Also up for bid are jerseys signed by Ryan Howard, Andy Pettitte, Ichiro and Miguel Tejada; spikes signed by Jose Reyes and David Wright; bats signed by Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome and Morgan Ensberg; caps signed by Jeff Kent, Mike Mussina, Jorge Posada and Joba Chamberlain; bobbleheads signed by Oswalt and Adrian Beltre and dozens of single signed baseballs.
A 2008 All-Star Game ball signed by 26 All-Stars and a Reds team signed bat and helmet will also be auctioned.
Stone, 33, pitched for three teams during his six-year big league career: the Astros, Padres ('04) and Reds ('05, '07).
Last May, Stone was signed by Taiwan's Uni-President Lions in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He suffered an injury and returned to the United States, and shortly after, he suffered the seizure.
Figueroa, who pitched for the Mets in 2008, pitched for the Uni-President Lions in 2007. His wife, Alisa, and Erin Pote, wife of Lions pitcher Lou Pote, founded Rally for Recovery to raise funds for the Stone family.
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.