The one-year anniversary of Toni Stone’s induction into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame is commemorated in Google’s latest Doodle, which debuted on Wednesday. The Doodle also honors Black History Month, which takes place every February and celebrates African-American achievements and history in the U.S.
In 1953, Stone replaced future Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron as the second baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns in the American Negro League. Aaron had signed a contract to leave the Clowns and move to the Milwaukee Braves’ farm team system. He went on to become one of the most honored players in baseball history. In his place, Stone became one of the first women in history to play men’s major league baseball.
“Toni was a trailblazer, a Black woman doing things she’s not expected to do, whether the world likes it or not,” Monique Wray, the San Francisco-based artist behind the Doodle, said in a news release.
Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone, born in 1921, learned to play baseball on the city playgrounds of St. Paul, Minnesota, in the 1930s and 1940s. Her love of baseball and preference for pants over skirts earned her the moniker “Tomboy,” according to CNET.
By the time she was 15, Stone was already playing baseball with the all-male semi-pro team in Minnesota, the Twin Cities Colored Giants. In 1946, Stone took her first professional at bat with the San Francisco Sea Lions. She also played alongside fellow barrier-breaker Jackie Robinson, before retiring from professional baseball in 1954.
“Toni Stone Day” was established in her adopted hometown of St. Paul in 1990 and she has been honored by several exhibitions in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
On Nov. 2, 1996, Stone died from heart failure in Alameda, California. She was 75 years old.
“Here’s to you, Toni Stone — thanks for showing the world what determination and unstoppable love for the game can achieve,” Google said in the release.