When Hank Aaron left the Negro League Indianapolis Clowns for Major League Baseball, Clowns owner Syd Pollack knew he needed to sign someone exceptional to replace the big hitter. He signed Toni Stone, a young woman from St. Paul, Minnesota, who had been playing baseball her whole life. The signing was partially a gimmick — the Clowns' fortunes had been fading as the stars crossed over to MLB — but Stone kept her place on the team with her athleticism. Facing racism from white America and gender discrimination from her fellow players, Stone persevered because she loved the game and because she knew she could do it — never underestimate the power of woman who believes in herself. St. Louis native Martha Ackmann has written the first biography about this mostly unknown groundbreaker, Curveball: The Remarkable Story of Tori Stone, the First Woman to Play Professional Baseball in the Negro League. Ackmann discusses Stone's amazing life and reads from her book at 7 p.m. this evening at Left Bank Books Central West End location (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-863-6731 or www.left-bank.com). Admission is free, and copies of Curveball will be available to purchase.
Mon., July 12, 2010