Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, Toni Stone, and Connie Morgan were three ladies who played baseball. They had to overcome segregation, prejudices, and many other issues just to be able to play baseball. The male players allowed them to home base but not without throwing in a cheap shot such as trying to kick them in their arm or legs with spiked shoes on, they also would throw insults at them to try to get them to quit. Some players were intimidated with a woman playing a man’s sport and able to play as well as them too.
As the Major League began integrating more and more African-Americans (Negroes) into the league, the number of fans began to see the games increased. This meant disaster for the Negro Leagues as the number of fans coming to the Negro League games was decreasing. Many of the fans were attending the Major Leagues games to see their favorite players. A manager got the idea to allow a woman to play or barnstorm for the fans to increase the number of fans.
This was going to be an amazing spectacle to see a woman playing baseball with the male players. This was going to be just as big as Jackie Robinson playing in the Major Leagues itself. It was not going to be an easy road for the woman who was sought after to play with the men. There would be more harassment, insults, and surly discrimination from the players than Robinson himself received when he first took the field with white players.
A scout from the Indianapolis Clowns placed an advertisement to have women to come try out for a position on a Negro League team. This idea proved to not be a costly one but one that them more publicity but later it did not help the Negro Leagues survive.
Discrimination in baseball began before Jackie Robinson was the first successful player to break the color barrier. These women were only looking for a team to play a sport they loved.
Although at that time, women were expected to become wives, mothers, maids, nurses, or work at some menial job. But they were looking for a way to prove themselves as the women from the AAGLP league.
Though Negro League players had a better chance of finding restaurants and accommodations in larger cities like Chicago, New York and Pittsburgh, their options were few in the smaller towns where they played. They also reported that many places in the deep South was inhospitable. Johnson endured prejudice and discrimination as a result of segregation. In Jim Crow America, she was not allowed to eat in a restaurant or stay in a “white” hotel, but she heard plenty of racial slurs. (visionaryproject 2009) ‘We had to buy cold cuts and eat on the bus,’ Mamie Johnson said.
At the age of 17, Johnson was not accepted to be a member of the White Female Baseball League. She may have owed her chance to excel in a man’s league in part to racism. In the late 1940s, before she was recruited to play for the Clowns, she wanted to try out for a team in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which inspired the 1992 film “A League of Their Own,” but she was not allowed to. (Slotnik, 2017)
Stone was the first female player in the Negro Leagues, and she was not met with open arms. As one of the first women to play in the Negro Major League, Stone endured harassment from opponents, critics, and fellow teammates. Able to run 100 yards in 11 seconds and maintaining a .243 batting average while with the Clowns, Stone was taunted at times by teammates, once being told, “Go home and fix your husband some biscuits.” She was undeterred. Most of the men shunned her and gave her a hard time because she was a woman. Stone was quite proud of the fact that the male players were out to get her. She would show off the scars on her left wrist and remember the time she had been spiked by a runner trying to take out the woman standing on second base. ‘He was out,’ she recalled.
Because she was the only woman traveling with a group of men, many thought she was a prostitute. But when on the road, she was welcomed into many of the houses for a hot bath, a good meal, and a warm bed to sleep in.
Most of the time, however, Stone was left to fend for herself. When she complained to a manager about being sexually harassed by another player, the manager told her she had to handle it. “Toni was a tough woman,” Ackmann says. “She went after the offender with a baseball bat.” Traveling by bus through the Jim Crow South, Stone endured racial slurs and, along with her teammates, was often denied lodging at white-only hotels. Because she was the only woman traveling on a bus full of men, some people assumed she was a prostitute, an assumption her teammates did little to correct. “In an if-you-can’t-beat-them-join-them move,” Ackmann says, Stone began to stay in brothels in a number of southern towns, where she was given a hot meal, a safe place to sleep, and a chance to launder her clothes. “The prostitutes started following the sports pages so they would know how she was doing,” Ackmann says. “It was remarkable.”
Even though she was part of the team, she was not allowed in the locker room. If she was lucky, she would be allowed to change in the umpire’s locker room. Once, Stone was asked to wear a skirt while playing for sex appeal, but she would not do it. Even though she felt like she was ‘one of the guys,’ the people around her did not. While playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, she spent most the game on the bench, next to the men who hated her. ‘It was hell,’ she said.
Stone wanted her abilities to be the main attraction, so when Clowns owner Syd Pollock suggested that she wear a skirt instead of a regulation uniform, she told him she’d quit first. “I wasn’t going to wear no shorts,” Stone told an interviewer. “This is professional baseball.” Stone’s playing thrust her into the spotlight, filling stands and newspaper columns as everyone became eager to see her in action. (Jackson, n.d.)
There are no women in Major League Baseball. We all know this; all you have to do is turn on a game or two or 300 and you’ll see – or not see, to be more accurate – the proof of this: Not a woman on the field anywhere. Why? Why is that?
Can you imagine trying to change clothes on a bus filled with men or squeezing you and 2 others into a ladies’ room to change from your clothes to a uniform with hot must see and it closed? Can you imagine trying to get out of the field just because you have a love for baseball in your heart and there’s no? Can you imagine how it is trying to go out and play baseball and your family just looks down upon you because you do not want to start a family or have children or even getting married? Can you imagine how that would feel at least I just overcame all of that just so they could play baseball they got paid a quite a bit amount of money and they enjoyed being out on the field they even struck out some major players including Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson.