because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Toni Stone

Marcenia Stone took the name "Toni" while she was going to school in the 1920's and 1930's because it sounded like "tomboy." "I loved my trousers," she told a reporter later. "I loved cars. Most of all, I loved riding horses with no saddles. I wasn't classified. People weren't ready for me."

But that wasn't all Stone loved. By the time she was fifteen (having started in the Midget Leagues at ten), Stone was playing baseball for the St. Paul Giants, a men's semi-professional team. And after she graduated high school, she played for a whole string of professional teams in the Negro League: the San Francisco Sea Lions, the New Orleans Creoles, and the Indianapolis Clowns (similar to the Harlem Globetrotters of basketball fame).

Stone is one of the few ever to snag a hit off the legendary pitcher Satchel Paige. Still -- and maybe because of how well she played -- she was continually shunned, humiliated, and even, on one occasion, purposely spiked by an opposing player, to encourage her to give up being an in-your-face woman and get back to where she belonged. At the end of her career, the Kansas City Monarchs made her ride the bench till she quit. "It was hell," Stone remembered.

Nevertheless, Stone is now in four different Halls of Fame, has a ball diamond named after her, and, in 1990, St. Paul declared March 6th "Toni Stone Day." Being an in-your-face woman is never easy, but it's always an option.

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