Women in the Negro Leagues

Toni Stone, female Negro League Baseball Player

"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 Connie Morgan.

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.
Ron Thomas

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.
****** JPEG picture of Effa Manley

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 team.