Who Is Toni Stone? First Woman to Play Professional Baseball

Pioneer, trailblazer, fearless, barrier-breaker—these are just some of the many terms. That have been used to describe Toni Stone. Who made baseball history when she signed with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953. Becoming the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues and the first to play professionally with men. In any league since the 1800s. – National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

History of Baseball


For years, baseball has been a game predominantly played by white men. After all, it was only in 1954 that Hall of Famer Willie Mays became baseball’s first black superstar. But before Mays, there was Toni Stone, who made her major league debut for her hometown St. Louis Brownstones against none other than—the New York Yankees. The team had signed her despite protest from many of its players and fans; they were disgusted at having a woman on their team. As well as having a woman playing professional baseball at all. Nevertheless, manager Gus Greenlee saw talent in Stone and allowed her to continue playing. Despite continuous racist remarks and insults aimed at both him and Stone herself.

Gender and race discrimination in baseball


Gender discrimination was still common in baseball, but one African American woman was accepted as a player. The player who broke down that racial and gender barrier is Toni Tomboy Stone. She not only faced gender bias, but also discrimination because of her race. But it didn’t stop her from playing professional baseball. She debuted with a men’s team and helped pave a path for more women to enter professional sports. In addition, she faced even more difficulties because she was African American. Especially in parts of America where racial segregation laws were enforced during her career.

The Negro Leagues


As a center fielder and right-handed batter. Professional baseball player Toni Stone made history when she signed her first contract with an all-male Negro league team. In 1953, a judge granted her request for a legal change of gender from female to male. Saying that she was psychologically and emotionally a man. This paved way for her to legally play baseball professionally under her new name: Tony Stone. Despite stereotypes at that time that women couldn’t play professional sports. Stone won respect by demonstrating. Her talent on and off the field—and in doing so became one of very few women to play professional baseball. In America during that time period.

The Independent League (the best league)


While it would take two decades for a professional baseball league for women to form. One thing we’ve learned from reading about her is that she could play ball. She was fast, aggressive, and took excellent care of herself physically. In 1953, as one of four players on an all-women barnstorming team called Toni’s. Tip-Tops (named after Stone), she broke her own record when she stole 18 bases in a game in Los Angeles. The year before. While playing against men in an exhibition game at Ebbits Field during Jackie Robinson Day festivities. she stole home twice. She also had a powerful arm—which still ranks. As one of her greatest attributes even nearly 50 years after her death.

About Toni Stone


Though she never had a single major league plate appearance, Toni Stone is still an icon. In 1953, she became one of three women on integrated baseball teams. An impressive feat in its own right. It becomes even more notable when you consider. That most MLB teams wouldn’t sign black players until 1947—after Jackie Robinson had broken through with the Brooklyn Dodgers. At her peak, she was considered among pro baseball’s best pitchers. That her story is only now being told in a Google Doodle. (see below) is a reminder of how often men who were much less talented. Than Stone receive accolades and praise they didn’t earn while women are left out of history altogether.

How A Woman Got Into The Best League In 1950


If a professional baseball league is ever going to integrate, you’d think it would be during wartime. There are more men than women in America. There are thousands of men desperate for work with thousands of idle minor league baseball fields. And stadiums just waiting for players. And yet in 1945 — while U.S. British and Soviet forces were fighting Nazi Germany — a man named Branch Rickey. Started scouting black ballplayers for an all-black team he planned on calling the Brown Bombers. He found one: A woman named Jackie Mitchell. Who went on to strike out both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig during an exhibition game in 1931.

How She Was Treated by Other Players


While it’s clear that other players respected Stone, they didn’t necessarily treat her well. According to baseball historian Jules Tygiel, Stone once said, I had no business playing ball… But as long as I could play and they’d let me on a team, I was going to play. If I played like a man they called me Mr. Stone, but if I gave them a bad day at bat they’d call me ‘her’ and ‘she. That’s right: though she certainly earned respect for her skills in life. Upon death she wasn’t even given the honor of being named Mr.

Why She’s Important Today


In addition to being a trailblazer for women in sports. Toni Stone had a tough life that also serves as inspiration. After her husband passed away. She had to take on responsibility of supporting herself and her three children and began playing baseball with men’s. Teams because they could offer more pay. Despite racial segregation at play. Which meant that black players earned less than their white counterparts. She was also able to break racial barriers within organized baseball because of her talent and skill. She played for several different teams before ending up with an all-black team called The Indianapolis Clowns; despite not making much money or having many opportunities for advancement there either. She stayed on because it meant she got play pro ball and make money (and provide income) for her family.

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