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"Toni Stone" introduces Boston theatergoers to female baseball legend

"Toni Stone" introduces Boston theatergoers to female baseball legend
"Toni Stone" introduces Boston theatergoers to female baseball legend 02:32

BOSTON - A new play in Boston hopes to introduce theatergoers to Toni Stone, an important figure in baseball history.

"We should know her like we know Babe Ruth, like we know, Satchel Paige, like we know Jackie Robinson," said Lydia Diamond.

But local playwright and director Diamond knows people don't know Stone the way they know other baseball heroes. Her new piece, now on stage at the Huntington Theater in Boston, looks to change that.

Stone, who was Black, was rejected from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which you may know from the movie, "A League of their Own." In 1946, she joined the Negro Leagues and became the first woman to ever play professional baseball on a man's team.

Actress Jennifer Mogbock portrays Toni, and she is the only woman in the cast.

Diamond says that was quite intentional. "I found it striking to see Black men hold Toni up and help tell the story. It feels right, it's also beautiful on stage and it's something I don't get to see on stage very often."

Stanley Andrew Jackson is one of the nine men, who portrays several roles in the piece, including Toni's only female friend.

"It's an American story"

"This story is all about her fortitude. It's all about her facing odds and breaking barriers and her focus on doing that no matter what came in her way. And I feel like that is a beautiful, important American story. It's not just a Black story, but it's an American story," said Jackson.

Diamond feels Toni's passion for baseball and determination to succeed makes an impact.

"I think the doing of a thing really well transcends often the ways perhaps we as African-American. We as African-American women can be diminished. You know, you can't you can't really deny excellence."

And Jackson hopes this piece about baseball can open the door to a whole new audience, telling us, "If you've never been to the theater before, this is a great entryway, especially if you're a sports person. You get to see your sport talked about, but also be introduced to the sport of theater."

You can catch The Huntington Theater's production of "Toni Stone" through June 16.  

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