Google Doodle honors the legacy of Black baseball legend Toni Stone

A black and white photo of Toni Stone standing in front of a dugout. Four men stand next to her as she holds her mitt and smiles at the camera.

A black and white photo of Toni Stone standing in front of a dugout. Four men stand next to her as she holds her mitt and smiles at the camera.

In honor of Black History Month, Google has released an animated Google Doodle tribute to baseball legend Toni Stone — the first woman to play professional baseball in a men’s league.

Accompanied by a Google Arts & Culture biography, the Google Doodle highlights a story of passion and determination. Marcenia “Toni” Stone was born in 1921 in West Virginia and started playing baseball at a young age. Starting at age 15, Stone shuffled between various teams across the country and eventually found a mentor in Gabby Street, a former men’s Major League player and manager of the St. Paul Saints team. Stone eventually dropped out of school to find more time to coach and train herself. She would go on to be the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues and do so regularly on a men’s professional team. She even played alongside baseball legend Jackie Robinson. She retired in 1954, and was memorialized in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Doodle represents her status as a pioneer in the sport, and was created in consultation with Stone’s family, including her nieces and nephews, as well as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum of Kansas City, Missouri.

In a statement to Google, Stone’s family said that their aunt fought hard for her place in baseball history and hopes that others can learn more about her barrier-breaking legacy. “During Toni’s career, she suffered humiliating prejudices from the audience and her teammates. However, she never let that stop her from playing baseball. She stood up to the other players, went out on the field, and played the game,” they wrote. “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.'”

The Doodle was created by San Francisco artist Monique Wray. In the press release, Wray said she was inspired by Stone’s legacy as a trailblazer. “Toni played with men, a lot of whom did not want her there. But almost every photo I see of her, she has a massive smile. She lived her life through adversity and did what she wanted to do,” Wray wrote in the release.

Learn more about Stone, the Google Doodle, and see archived art featuring other Black icons — like Black cartoonist Jackie Ormes and feminist poet Audre Lorde — on the Google Doodle homepage. You can also discover more stories about Black History on the Google Arts & Culture site, including the histories and stories of the Negro League.

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