The local press reported that she made several unassisted double plays, and batted .265.( Although the all American Girls Baseball League was active at the time, Toni Stone was not eligible to play. The AAGBL was a “white only” League, so Toni played on otherwise all-male teams. In 1953, Syd Pollack, owner of the Indianapolis Clowns, signed Toni to play second base, a position that had been recently vacated when Hank Aaron was signed by the Boston (soon to be Milwaukee) Braves. Toni became the first woman to play in the Negro Leagues. The Clowns had begun as a gimmick team, much like the Harlem Globetrotters, known as much for their showmanship as their playing. But by the 50’s they had toned down their antics and were playing straight baseball.
Although Pollack claimed he signed Toni Stone for her skill as a player, not as a publicity stunt, having her on the team didn’t hurt revenues, which had been declining steadily since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in the Majors, and many young black players left the Negro Leagues.