Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone Alberga

Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone Alberga was a trailblazing figure in the world of baseball, and her life story is one of perseverance, determination, and breaking barriers.

Stone was born on July 17, 1921, in West Virginia, and grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was the youngest of six children and had a love for baseball from a young age. As a child, she would play baseball with her brothers and their friends, and she soon became known as one of the best players in the neighborhood.

At the age of 10, Stone joined a local baseball team for girls, and by the time she was 15, she was playing for the Minneapolis Millerettes, a women’s baseball team. Stone was a talented player, and she soon caught the attention of the Negro Leagues, which were the professional baseball leagues for African American players during the era of segregation.

In 1949, Stone was signed by the New Orleans Creoles, a Negro league team, and she played for them for two seasons. In 1951, she was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns, another Negro League team, and it was with them that Stone made history. In 1953, Stone became the first woman to play in the Negro American League when she played second base for the Clowns.

Stone faced a lot of challenges during her time with the Clowns. She faced racism and sexism from her male teammates, who were initially resistant to having a woman on the team. Stone had to work hard to earn their respect and prove that she was a talented player. She also faced discrimination from fans and opposing teams, who would often hurl insults and objects at her during games.

Despite these challenges, Stone was a skilled player. She had a batting average of .243 during her first season with the Clowns and was known for her speed and agility on the field. Stone played with the Clowns for three seasons before retiring from baseball in 1954.

After retiring from baseball, Stone earned a nursing degree and worked as a nurse for many years. She was active in the civil rights movement and worked to promote equality and justice for African Americans and women. Stone passed away on November 2, 1996, but her legacy as a pioneer in the world of baseball lives on.

In recognition of her contributions to the game, Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in Stone’s story, and she has been the subject of books, documentaries, and plays.

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