Using the baseball skills she developed on the city playgrounds and fields in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, Toni Stone became the first woman to play regularly for a men's professional baseball team.
Stone, born Marcenia Stone in West Virginia in 1921, and her family moved to St. Paul in 1931. She started playing baseball at the age of 10 on a boys' team in a Catholic Youth League. In 1937, at the age of 16, she joined the St. Paul Colored Giants, a men's semi-professional team.
Several years later she moved to California to live with her sister. She played baseball for several San Francisco area teams, including the San Francisco Sea Lions, a semi-professional team in the West Coast Negro Baseball League.
In 1949, she joined the New Orleans Creoles, a semi-professional team in the Negro Southern League.
Stone, a second baseman, signed with the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League for the 1953 season. She replaced future Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron on the Clowns roster. Aaron was the Clowns second baseman in 1952 before signing with the Boston Braves.
One of the highlights for Stone in 1953, was getting a hit off future Hall of Famer Satchel Paige. Following the 1953 season, Stone's contract was sold to the Kansas City Monarchs. After the 1954 season, she retired as a player. Among the players she had played with or against during her career were Ernie Banks, Roy Campanella, Luke Easter and Jackie Robinson.
After retiring, she lived in California where she continued to play amateur baseball for many years.
She was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame and she has appeared in two different exhibits at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1996, one of the fields at the Dunning Sports Complex in the Midway area of St. Paul was named Toni Stone Field and the city declared March 6 "Toni Stone Day."
Her story has been dramatized several times, including in 1997, when a play about Stone's life was produced by the Great American History Theatre in St. Paul, called "Tomboy Stone."
Team: Twin Cities Colored Gophers