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Toni Stone: The first woman to play in the major leagues was from Saint Paul

Many of the details of her life have been lost to time, but join "That's So Minnesota" podcast learning about this legendary woman.
Credit: the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.
Toni Stone, image courtesy the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Listen to the That's So Minnesota podcast here: Apple |Spotify |Stitcher 

The further you head into the past, the harder it can be to find accurate information about the things people said and places they lived, even when that person is famous. 

Like, "the first woman to play major league baseball" famous. 

Martha Ackmann and Frank White are both authors, and both have written about Toni Stone. But because memories fade and people pass on, they have heard similar stories about her life but with some big differences. 

Martha was told that Toni's parents were supportive of her playing sports, but Frank heard they were against it. While the details may vary, one thing is clear: Toni Stone was a trailblazer. 

Toni was born in West Virginia sometime in the 1920's or 1930's. She and her family moved to Saint Paul, where young Toni became a neighborhood sports legend in the making: ice skating, playing Red Rover, and then on to baseball against the boys. 

She started playing with her church's team, then moved up to the Twin City Colored Giants and even played a stint with the early Saint Paul Saints. 

Stone moved out to California during WWII, and was playing out west when she caught the attention of the Negro Leagues. 

Toni retired in 1954, and passed away in 1996. Her journey was never easy, but along the way she found just enough hands and hearts to help her get to the place she needed to be. 

Many works have been written about Stone's exploits, including numerous plays. 

Learn more about author Martha Ackmann here

Read more about the work done by Frank White here

Credit: Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc., KARE 11
Toni Stone, courtesy Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.

Listen to the That's So Minnesota podcast here: Apple |Spotify |Stitcher 

Toni Stone lived in Saint Paul in the 1930's, and while she didn't stay long, she certainly left her mark on baseball. She started playing with the boys on a team for local Catholic church, and ended up playing professionally in the Negro Leagues. Join ...

Other episodes of That's So Minnesota:

The importance of becoming your true self

Foraging for Minnesota mushrooms

St. Paul's gangster past

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