October 26, 2020

GEJ`

Business Woman

When Toni and Mamie and Connie Took on the Negro League

This story was published in partnership with Truly*Adventurous

The second baseman trotted onto the field and at first glance looked like all the other players: same billowy white pants, same snug baseball cap. It was only in lingering a moment on the face—especially those eyes, gleaming and confident—that you realized she was a woman.

That was by design. Toni Stone took great pains to look like all the other players. In 1950 she was with the semi-professional New Orleans Creoles, the only woman in an otherwise all-male outfit, but as she began warming up on this day her attention dwelled on the opposing team. The Creoles were a kind of minor-league side within the Negro American League, the last of the dwindling Negro leagues. The Indianapolis Clowns, though, were the class of the lot, and Toni had grown up idolizing them. Today would be her chance to prove she deserved a shot at one day playing for them.