Interesting Facts about Toni Stone

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Toni Stone was one of the first women to play professional baseball. She spent most of her early years picking cotton in Louisiana and playing with the other women on their breaks. Eventually, she went on to become part of the Negro Leagues, which were previously all-male. This is ironic because there are no records of her playing baseball as a child.

While Toni Stone was often criticized and taunted for her choices, from playing baseball to wearing pants, she held her own and followed her passion. It’s worth learning more about her, so get some inspiration from these interesting facts about this professional baseball player.

1. Toni “Tomboy” Stone Was One of the First Three Women Baseball Players 

Toni Stone was born in West Virginia in 1921, and her original name was Marcenia Lyle Stone. She was the first of three great women baseball players.

Toni made history in 1953 when she was a significant part of the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns, which was previously made up of just male baseball players. [1] As a result, she wasn’t just among the first black women to play professional baseball, but one of the first women overall.

2. San Francisco Sea Lions hired Toni in 1949, Which Put Her on the Radar of Negro Leagues

During the 1940s, Stone struggled to get noticed as a baseball player. Her career took a turn after she moved to the Bay Area at the age of 32.

In 1949, she was noticed and hired by the San Francisco Sea Lions that belonged to the West Coast Negro Baseball League. Her first ever salary was $200. This hiring helped Stone put on the radar of other Negro League teams’ selectors. [2]

3. Stone Played Center Field for American Legion Team after High School 

After Toni graduated from high school, she moved to California. While living with her sister in California, she started playing for the American Legion Team. [3]

4. Stone had the First-Ever Opportunity to Earn from Baseball as a Teenager

At the age of 16, Stone was offered a chance to transform her passion into a source of income for her family. The Twin City Colored Giants offered her a minimal rate of $2-$3 per game. It was a bleak time for discrimination based on color, and the Twin City Colored Giants was a majorly male-dominated baseball team. [4]

5. Toni was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993

In 1993, Toni Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame and International Hall of Fame – three years before she passed away in California. [5]

6. Toni Stone Died at the Age of 75 in California 

Toni Stone was a legend for women’s baseball teams and the iconic baseball player who achieved success. She made it to the Hall of Fame despite all the obstacles, even not being allowed into the locker room with the rest of the players. She passed away in 1996 at the age of 75. She died due to heart failure at a nursing home in Alameda, California. [6]

7. Toni Stone’s Husband Was a Politician and 40 Years Older than Her 

Toni Stone got married in 1950 to a politician in San Francisco named Aurelius Alberga. Alberga was about 40 years older than her. [7]

8. Toni Stone Went Back to Practicing Nursing After She Retired From Baseball in 1954

Toni Stone gave a stunning performance at an exhibition game in 1953, where she secured a single off a fastball pitch by the legendary Satchel Paige. Despite all the taunting and obstacles that kept her from reaching higher, Stone’s struggles are engraved in the people’s minds.

She retired from baseball after the 1954 season and worked diligently as a nurse. She also cared for her husband until he passed away in 1987. [3]

9. Stone Also Played for St. Paul Giants 

Stone was a die-hard baseball fan since her childhood. She was always into baseball teams, and that passion led her to play with the St. Paul Giants men’s semiprofessional team. [13]

10. Toni Stone Joined the Indianapolis Clowns In 1953

After her brief tenure with the San Francisco Sea Lions, she moved on to playing for the New Orleans Creoles. Soon after that, in 1953, Stone got her breakthrough, became a part of the Indianapolis Clowns, and played second base. She was hired in place of Hank Aaron. [8]

11. Stone was included in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990

Three years before Toni Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, she was honored by being a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum exhibit in 1990. During the same time, she was also honored to be on the Negro League Baseball exhibit. [9]

12. Stone had an Excellent Batting Average 

Stone played about 50 games in her career and maintained an enviable .243 batting average. [4]

13. Toni Stone Faced Numerous Obstacles in Building Her Career and Name in an All-Male Sports Team 

Although Stone had proved her many times throughout her career, she was still publicly criticized by professionals in sports. Clown’s player and manager, Buster Hollywood, also criticized her several times. [4]

14. Stone Joined the Kansas City Monarchs in 1954

After playing for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953 and Stone’s fantastic performance when she hit a single off the legendary Satchel Paige’s fastball, Stone was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs. [16]

15. Her Place in the Indianapolis Clowns was left Open by Hank Aaron 

Hank Aaron was a famous player for the Indianapolis Clowns till 1953. He left his spot open and went to the Milwaukee Braves. [15]

16. Sports Professionals Tried Hard to Convert Stone into a Symbol of Sexual Appeal in Sports

Toni Stone broke several boundaries that abstained women from entering male-dominated sports such as baseball. Due to this, she was mocked several times and faced gender discriminating criticism repeatedly.

According to the 1996 issue of the New York Times, Stone was asked to wear a skirt in a game. She right away refused to become an objectifying symbol of sexuality in baseball. [4]

17. Toni Stone Worked Hard to Become the Fourth Top Baseball Player in America 

Toni Stone reached the peak of her career and was even considered fourth in the baseball league. She played with legendary baseball players and future Hall of Famers, such as Ernie Banks and Willie Mays. [11]

18. She Changed Her Name to Toni Stone After She Became Famous By the Name Tomboy 

Due to her passion for baseball and entering the leagues when no other women did so, Toni was nicknamed “Tomboy.” She decided to give up her real name and change it to Toni Stone. This change came about due to her feeling that the name Toni was better suited to her identity. Since she was called ‘Tomboy’ as a child, she felt that Toni sounded similar to that nickname. [14]

19. She was The Star of a Children’s Baseball League at the Age of 10 

When Toni Stone was ten years old, she played in a baseball league for children sponsored by a cereal company called Wheaties. [14]

20. Stone Faced Rejection Due to Her Race

Stone, a black woman and an aspiring baseball player, never had a league of her own. Growing up in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood in the 1940s and ’50s, she longed to play baseball but was rejected by the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League due to her race. [12]

Conclusion

Although Toni Stone is an important figure in the history of women’s baseball, there isn’t enough information about her online. Hopefully, this post helps fill in some gaps and serves as a jumping-off point for more research about this amazing sportswoman.

References

  1. Jr, R. M. T. (1996, November 10). Toni Stone, 75, First Woman To Play Big-League Baseball. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1996/11/10/sports/toni-stone-75-first-woman-to-play-big-league-baseball.html
  2. Little Known Black History Fact: Toni Stone. (2020, March 24). Black America Web. https://blackamericaweb.com/2020/03/24/little-known-black-history-fact-toni-stone/
  3. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Toni Stone | American athlete. In Encyclopædia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Toni-Stone
  4. Paranick, A. (2022, March 15). Toni Stone: First Woman to Play Big-League Baseball. | Headlines and Heroes. Blogs.loc.gov. https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/2022/03/toni-stone/‌
  5. Toni Stone: Google Honors First Woman To Play In A Men’s Major Baseball League. (n.d.). BOTWC. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.becauseofthemwecan.com/blogs/botwc-firsts/toni-stone-google-honors-first-woman-to-play-in-a-mens-major-baseball-league‌
  6. How Did Toni Stone Die? Heart Failure At The Age Of 75, Was She Married To Husband Aurelious Alberga? (n.d.). Showbizcorner.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://showbizcorner.com/how-did-toni-stone-die-heart-failure-at-the-age-of-75#how-did-toni-stone-die-heart-failure-at-the-age-of-75
  7. Toni Stone Biography, Life, Interesting Facts. (2018, November 14). Famous Birthdays by SunSigns.org. https://www.sunsigns.org/famousbirthdays/d/profile/toni-stone/
  8. Blog: Toni Stone: The First Female Player in the Negro League. (n.d.). Free Library of Philadelphia. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://libwww.freelibrary.org/blog/post/4489
  9. Musil, S. (n.d.). Google Doodle honors Toni Stone, trailblazing female pro baseball player. CNET. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.cnet.com/culture/internet/google-doodle-honors-toni-stone-trailblazing-female-pro-baseball-player‌
  10. Paranick, A. (2022, March 15). Toni Stone: First Woman to Play Big-League Baseball. | Headlines and Heroes. Blogs.loc.gov. https://blogs.loc.gov/headlinesandheroes/2022/03/toni-stone/‌
  11. Humanities, N. E. for the. (1953, August 8). Jackson advocate. [volume] (Jackson, Miss.) 1939-current, August 08, 1953, Image 7. Chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, 7. https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn79000083/1953-08-08/ed-1/seq-7/#date1=1777&index=2&date2=1963&searchType
  12. Tribune, R. B. S. (n.d.). Toni Stone of St. Paul was first woman to be a regular in men’s pro baseball. Star Tribune. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.startribune.com/toni-stone-of-st-paul-was-first-woman-to-be-a-regular-in-men-s-pro-baseball/570376312/‌
  13. League of her own: Twins baseball clinic to honor St. Paul’s Toni Stone. (n.d.). MPR News. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.mprnews.org/story/2022/06/09/toni-stone-minneota-twins-baseball-honor
  14. Stone, Toni 1921–1996 | Encyclopedia.com. (n.d.). Www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/stone-toni-1921-1996
  15. Changed The Game: Toni Stone was Henry Aaron’s Negro League successor who made her own baseball history. (n.d.). Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://sports.yahoo.com/toni-stone-hank-aarons-negro-league-successor-made-her-own-baseball-history-140041762.html

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