Born: July 17, 1931
Toni Stone maybe one of the best ballplayer you've never heard of.
The local press reported that she made several unassisted double plays, and batted .265.( Although the all American Girls Baseball League was active at the time, Toni Stone was not eligible to play. The AAGBL was a "white only" League, so Toni played on otherwise all-male teams. In 1953, Syd Pollack, owner of the Indianapolis Clowns, signed Toni to play second base, a position that had been recently vacated when Hank Aaron was signed by the Boston (soon to be Milwaukee) Braves. Toni became the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues. The Clowns had begun as a gimmick team, much like the Harlem Globetrotters, known as much for their showmanship as their playing. But by the 50's they had toned down their antics and were playing straight baseball.
Although Pollack claimed he signed Toni Stone for her skill as a player, not as a publicity stunt, having her on the team didn't hurt revenues, which had been declining steadily since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the Majors, and many young black players left the Negro Leagues. Stone recalls that most of the men shunned her and gave her a hard time because she was a woman. She reflected that, " They didn't mean any harm and in their way they liked me. Just that I wasn't supposed to be there. They'd tell me to go home and fix my husband some biscuits or any damn thing. Just get the" hell away from here."
The team publicized Toni Stone in interviews on posters, and on the cover of the Clowns' program. And she got to play baseball, appearing in 50 games in 1953, and hitting .243. In 1954, Pollack sold her contract to the Kansas City Monarchs, an all-star team that had won several pennants in the "Colored World Series" and for whom Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige had both played. When Stone left the Clowns, Pollack hired Connie Morgan to replace her at second base and signed a female pitcher, Mamie "peanut" Johnson, as well.