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Google Doodle celebrates Toni Stone in honor of Black History Month

Toni Stone made history when she signed with the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953.

INDIANAPOLIS — A woman who made history on the ball diamond in Indianapolis is being honored by Google Wednesday.

The search engine is recognizing Marcenia "Toni" Stone in a doodle depiction in honor of Black History Month.

(NOTE: The video in the player above is from a Jan. 2020 report on a mural painted in Bloomington honoring Toni Stone.)

Stone is the first woman in history to play professional baseball regularly in a men's major baseball league, according to Google. She was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League to play second base in 1953, the first woman to sign a professional baseball contract, according to the Indianapolis Indians. 

One of Stone's predecessors at second base for the Clowns was Hank Aaron, prior to his time with the Milwaukee Braves of MLB.

The doodle creation was brought to life by San Francisco-based illustrator, animator, and director, Monique Wray.

Stone was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on July 17, 1931, where her love for baseball began at a young age. 

Credit: the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.
Toni Stone, image courtesy the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Inc.

At the age of 15, Stone played with the St. Paul Giants, a men's semi- professional baseball team. Once she graduated from high school, she moved out west and began her professional baseball career with the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Negro Baseball League in 1946, according to Major League Baseball.

In 1949, Stone played second base for The New Orleans Creoles before she got her big break in 1953, signing with Indianapolis. The Clowns were known as one of the league's most prestigious teams, according to Google. 

That same year, Stone hit a single off of the greatest pitcher in Negro League history, Satchel Paige. After finishing 50 games with the Clowns, Stone was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs and retired her baseball career following the end of the season in 1954, according to Britannica.

In 1990, Stone was recognized in the "Woman in Baseball" and "Negro League Baseball" exhibits at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The same year, Stone's hometown of Minnesota declared March 6 as “Toni Stone Day,” according to MLB. 

In 1993, Stone was inducted into the the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Stone was inducted into the Minnesota Hall of Fame on Feb. 9, 2021 and remains a legend to this day.

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