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Google Doodle Honors Toni Stone, First Female Professional Baseball Player

Google‘s search engine is displaying a special doodle on Wednesday to honor baseball legend Toni Stone, who joined the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953 and became the first of three women to play for the franchise. The illustration, created by San Francisco-based artist Monique Wray, captures Stone’s fierce competitive spirit and elegant style.

“The moving image not only draws inspiration from baseball action photography while incorporating Stone’s sense of humor and iconic curly hair, it also brings Stone’s legacy to life for new generations,” a Google spokesperson told People.

Stone, who died in 1996 at age 75, was the first woman to regularly play professional baseball in a men’s major baseball league. The trailblazer grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota, after she was born in Bluefield, West Virginia, in 1921. 

At age 15, Stone played with the all-male semi-pro Twin Cities Colored Giants. She continued her career in 1946 when she joined the San Francisco Sea Lions.

“Her exceptional batting average of .280 earned her a spot on the bench with the Negro League All-Star team while she continued to travel across the United States playing second base for the minor league New Orleans Creoles,” Google said in a news release.

According to Google, Stone took another major step in 1953 when she “filled the spot of future Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron as the second baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of the League’s most prestigious teams.”

“Undeterred by taunts during her debut season with the Clowns, Stone hit a single off of Satchel Paige, who is widely considered the greatest pitcher in Negro League history,” the company said.

In 1993, Stone was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. The second baseman, who played alongside legends such as Jackie Robinson, was also inducted into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame in 2021. She retired from professional baseball in 1954.

Stone, according to Google, fought to play in a men’s baseball club in Minnesota and succeeded with the help of a priest who spoke to the team coach.

“She was the first Black woman to play in Minnesota’s boys’ league,” the tech giant stated. “She was active in tennis, skating, fishing, and baseball. Her love for baseball won. She fought hard to play in professional men’s clubs. As a result, she was the first woman in the organized Negro Leagues and quickly drew attention for her baseball skills.”

Despite perpetual prejudice from baseball fans and her teammates, Stone persisted.

“She never let that stop her from playing baseball,” Google stated. “She stood up to the other players; went out on the field, and played the game. She used to say, ‘I am a woman, a Black woman, and I want and will play men’s baseball. I’m not even getting paid the same amount of money these guys are making. But I do it because I love the game, and I do it to show other women that they can do it too. Remember, a woman has her dream too.'”

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