In the days when professional baseball was segregated into white and Black teams, a Black woman named Toni Stone made history.

Stone was a sports phenom, and she rose through the ranks to become the first woman to play regularly in the Negro leagues, a series of men's professional baseball leagues. The teams attracted talented players including Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron. But Stone proved to be of the same caliber — when Aaron was picked up by Major League Milwaukee Braves, Stone took his position at second base with the all-male Indianapolis Clowns in 1953.

“I had not heard of Toni Stone, and I was shocked and dismayed and then really not surprised at all, because that's what history does to black women,” said Lydia Diamond, author of the play, “Toni Stone.”

“That's what history does to Black people. That's what history does to women of all colors. But then it angered me, and I felt like I had to take it on, and that it was my honor to take it on.”

Until recently, Stone’s remarkable story had been largely forgotten. Award-winning playwright, Lydia Diamond, takes on Stone's story in a new play featured at The Huntington Theatre.


Lydia Diamond, award-winning playwright whose works include “The Gift Horse,” “Smart People,” “Stick Fly” (Broadway) and “The Bluest Eye,” she is an associate professor of playwriting at the University of Illinois in Chicago, and her new play, “Toni Stone,” is running at the Huntington Theatre