About Toni Stone
Toni Stone is an encyclopedia of baseball stats. She’s got a great arm. And she doesn’t understand why she can't play with the boys. April Matthis knocks it out of the park as the first woman to go pro in the Negro Leagues. Featuring a bullpen of players crossing age, race and gender to portray all supporting roles, Lydia R. Diamond’s Toni Stone is a vibrant new play from Roundabout Theatre Company about staying in the game, playing hard, playing smart and playing your own way. Directed by Pam MacKinnon.
Tell Me More
Toni Stone hit a home run — literally. She was the first woman to play professional baseball in the Negro League, after second baseman Hank Aaron split from the Indianapolis Clowns to join the major leagues. And while her dream of playing professional ball came true, life still threw the female athlete some serious curveballs. Though Toni was undeniably talented — playing the game since she was 10-years-old — Clowns owner Syd Pollack hired her to draw crowds, and she was constantly met with hate and hardships for being different.
Starring April Matthis, the world premiere of Lydia R. Diamond’s play “Toni Stone,” based on the biography “Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Toni Stone” by Martha Ackmann, tells the story of how this gifted baseball player went from Minnesota to the Negro major league — and fought with all her might not to strike out when it came to seeking social justice.
What To Watch For
- Both playwright Lydia R. Diamond and author Martha Ackmann, who wrote “Curveball,”were fellows at Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
- Toni Stone came to be known as “the female Jackie Robinson.”
- Stone wanted to be treated like her teammates, so when she was asked by Clowns owner Syd Pollack to wear a skirt, she threatened to quit. “I wasn’t going to wear no shorts,” she said. “This is professional baseball.”
- Stone was the first of only three women who made it onto the professional Negro League. Mamie Johnson and Connie Morgan were the females who followed in Stone’s footsteps.
- During her time playing for the Clowns, Stone maintained a .243 batting average, and one of her hits was off Satchel Paige, one of the best pitchers in baseball history.