Toni Stone American Resilience

Toni Stone, First Female to Take on Professional Baseball

In honor of Black History Month, a story of strength worth talking about year-round.

Marcenia Lyle “Toni” Stone grew up playing baseball with the neighborhood kids, quickly earning the nickname Tomboy Stone. She was the first girl to land a position in the St. Peter Claver Catholic Church boys’ baseball team and went on to become the first of three women to become professional baseball players.

In 1953, Stone signed with the professional ‘Negro American League’ team, the Indianapolis Clowns. While she was recruited, in part, to sell tickets (the manager wanted her to wear a skirt, which she refused), her batting average was .243 — the fourth highest in the league that year. She’d earned her place.

Being a female POC in a male-dominated industry was no joke in the 1950s, but she didn’t let people push her around. She’d brandish the scars on her left wrist to remind people of the time she’d been spiked by a player trying to take her out at second base.

 

Toni Stone playing Baseball

 

“People weren’t ready for me,” she famously said.

She’d argue with the umpire and get in shoving matches when opponents tried to slight her on the field. Essentially, she was saying, “This is how you treat me. And despite that, I’m still doing this.”

She went on to play for the Kansas City Monarchs before eventually getting fed up with the environment, returning back to California to coach and play semi-professional baseball. While this was the end of her professional career, she had proved that a woman’s place was wherever she pleased. And one of those places is on the field with the guys.

Many years later, Stone was given the recognition she deserved. In 1993, she was featured in two exhibits at the Baseball Hall of Fame and the city of St. Louis named March 6th “Toni Stone Day”.

Toni Stone died in Alameda, California, in 1996.

 

JP Sears American Resilience

JP Sears: Comedy and Sincerity Go Hand in Hand

Making fun of yourself can be the opening to truly understanding yourself.

You may have stumbled across JP Sears’ comedy videos taking loving pokes at ‘New Age’ lifestyles. He’s a Youtube sensation who first caught the eye of folks online in 2013. Now, with more than 600k subscribers, he makes fun of everything from the essential oil fad, gluten intolerance, astrology, and Bitcoin.

His jokes are good—sometimes too good—and make us question ourselves a bit. That is exactly his point, these jokes roast himself too. Humor keeps us humble, it is the opening of a new conversation stripped of ego.

After dropping out of college, Sears began studying holistic cultures at age 18, going on to become a life coach. After gaining recognition as someone with an acute sense of humor, he went on to write a book called How to be Ultra Spiritual – “a 12 1/2 Step Guide to Spiritual Superiority”.

 

 

“I needed it for self-therapy because so much of the New Age culture and New Age practices are a part of my life and a very beneficial part of my life, yet there’s another side to the beneficial coin for everything,” Sears told the Charleston City Newspaper.

“I was finding myself having egotistical agendas and judgments hiding within my new age and spiritual practices. The videos and the book [How to be Ultra Spiritual] became a way for me to shine the light of awareness on the shadow side of me.”

Sears compares his humor and sincerity with his left hand and right hand—both are different and don’t work quite as well alone.

Feature photo: Jonathan Boncek / Scott Suchy

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