Women in the Negro Leagues
"She Made it a League of Her Own"
Ron Thomas, Emerge, May 1996
When the history of baseball's Negro Leagues is told, Marcenia
Lyle Alberga shouldn't be forgotten. Playing under the name Toni
Stone, she was the first of three women to play in the Negro
Leagues, a second baseman who batted .243 for the Indianapolis
Clowns and Kansas City Monarch in 1953 and 1954. She also played
on three minor-league teams.
Stone's existence and tenacity in a male arena in an era when
racism and sexism were rampant make her an important figure in
baseball history. As a woman ball player, she encountered both
acceptance and resistance from teammates and opponents. She once
explained to teammate Al Lombardi on the New Orleans Creoles,
"A woman has her dreams, too. When you finish high school,
they tell a boy to go out and see the world. What do they tell
a girl? They tell her to go next door and marry the boy that their
family's picked out for her. It wasn't right."
In 1949, she jumped to the barnstorming Creoles, essentially
a minor-league team for the Negro Leagues. Four years later, she
joined the Indianapolis Clowns, where within a year she was joined
by Mamie "Peanuts" Johnson, a pitcher, and second-baseman
The highlight of Stone's career was in 1953, when she got
a single off of the legendary Satchel Paige in
a game in Nebraska. "He threw that fastball, and I...just
stood up there and hit it across second base", she recalls
with a chuckle.
Nineteen year old Connie Morgan played for two years,
1954-55, with the Indianapolis Clowns, replacing Toni Stone at second base. Before
that, she played for five years with the North Philadelphia Honey Drippers, an
all-girl baseball team, batting .368 during her tenure. A double threat, Connie
also played basketball during the off-season.
A utility player and pitcher, Mamie "Peanut" Johnson played but
a single year for the Clowns, 1954. They called her "Peanut" because
of her small size, but she threw as hard as many male pitchers. A groundbreaker
in other ways as well, Johnson studied medicine and engineering at New York University
before signing with the Clowns.
James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues.
But Stone, Johnson and Morgan were not the only women in Negro
Leagues baseball. Effa Manley, married to the owner of
the Newark Eagles, actively managed the team, calling plays, positioning
players, rotating pitchers. She went on road trips with them,
demanding and getting respect. To the best of my knowledge, she
remains the ONLY woman ever to manage an all-male pro baseball