A Woman to Know: Toni Stone

A woman playing baseball with men? She became the league's main attraction. historian Martha Ackmann

(image via Negro Leagues Baseball Museum)

She started playing at age 10, hit a run off Satchel Paige and is today remembered as "the best player you've never heard of." She was born Marcenia but went by "Toni," short for "tomboy."

Toni was the first woman to play big-league baseball. In 1953, she was the star player on the New Orleans Creoles, a co-ed Negro Baseball League team that graduated baseball greats like Hank Aaron. But she also endured years of fighting with owners and players alike (things like constant harassment, shoddy pay and even one time when she was asked to wear a skirt on the field to "sex it up" -- she said no of course).

After just one year in the big leagues, Toni called it quits. She moved to Oakland and left professional baseball for good. But fortunately for Toni and her fans alike, the baseball great lived to see her legacy revisited, re-appreciated and renowned. In 1993, just two years before her death, Toni was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame. "I wasn't classified," she told reporters. "[Back then,] people weren't ready for me."

Add to your reading list:

Read more:

Watch more:

*~Send your recommendations for women to know! Reply to this newsletter with your lady and she could be featured in an upcoming edition.~* You can browse the archive on Tumblr.