Louise Stokes Fraser was a champion athlete in the sports of track and field and bowling. She qualified for both the 1932 Olympics of Los Angeles and the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin. Following her retirement from track and field, Louise became a professional bowler. The eldest of six children, she was born in 1913 in Malden, Massachusetts, to William Stokes, a gardener, and Mary Wesley Stokes, a domestic.
Fraser began running while a student at Beebe Junior High in Malden. Because of her quickness, one of her basketball teammates suggested she join the Onteora Track Club, sponsored by William H. Quaine, a postal worker, former athlete, and the park commissioner of Malden. Within a couple of years, Louise soon began to win the sprints and the jumping events.
While a student at Malden High School, Fraser set many records in track in field, while also playing center on the girls basketball team and singing in the choir at Eastern Avenue Baptist Church. In September 1931, while a junior at Malden High School, she was awarded the James Michael Curley Cup for outstanding women’s track performance of the year. At the Mayor’s Day Races, Fraser set a New England record of 12.6 in the 100-meter race, second place in the 50-yard dash, and third in the broad jump. Four months later, in December, at a YMCA meet held in Roxbury, Maine, she tied the world record for women in the standing broad jump.
At the 1932 Olympic Trials at Northwestern University, Fraser finished third in the 100-meters and earned a place on the women’s 400-meter relay team in Los Angeles. Louise Stokes Fraser and Tydie Pickett served as the first two African-American women to qualify for an Olympic team. At the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, however, two White women replaced Stokes and Pickett. They sat and watched while the American women set a world record in the 400-meter relay and won the gold medal.
After the 1936 Olympics, Louise Stokes Fraser retired from running, worked as an elevator operator, and became a professional bowler. She founded the Colored Women’s Bowling League in 1941 and for three decades won many bowling awards.
(Source: Bridgewater State University.)
Born July 17, 1931.
Died: Nov. 2, 1996. Second baseman
1953, Indianapolis Clowns;
1954, Kansas City Monarchs;
1993, inducted to Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, Long Island, N.Y.
Toni Stone maybe one of the best ballplayer you’ve never heard of.
As a teenager she played with the local boy’s teams in St.Paul, Minnesota. During World War ll she moved to San Francisco, playing first with an American Legion team, and then with the San Francisco Sea Lions, a Black, semi-pro barnstorming team. She drove in two runs in her first time up at bat.
She didn’t feel that the owner was paying her what they’d originally agreed on, so when the team played in New Orleans, she jumped ship and joined the Black Pelicans. From there she went to the New Orleans Creoles, part of the Negro League minors, where she made $300 a month in 1949.
The team publicized Toni Stone in interviews on posters, and on the cover of the Clowns’ program. And she got to play baseball, appearing in 50 games in 1953, and hitting .243. In 1954, Pollack sold her contract to the Kansas City Monarchs, an all-star team that had won several pennants in the “Colored World Series” and for whom Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige had both played. When Stone left the Clowns, Pollack hired Connie Morgan to replace her at second base and signed a female pitcher, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, as well.
She played the 1954 season for the Monarchs, but she could read the hand writing on the wall. The Negro Leagues were coming to an end, so she retired at the end of the season. She was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. She is honored in two separate sections in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the “Women in Baseball” exhibit and the Negro Leagues section.
Toni Stone’s most memorable baseball moment came when she played against the legenendary Satchel Paige in 1953 “He was so good,” she remembered, “that he’d ask batters where they wanted it, just so they’d have a chance. He’d ask ‘You want it high? You want it low? You want it right in the middle?’ People still couldn’t get a hit against him. So I get up there and he says, ‘Hey, T, how do you like it? And I said, ‘It doesn’t matter just don’t hurt me.’ When he wound up all you could see was his shoe. I stood there shaking, but I got a hit. Right out over second base. Happiest moment in my life.”
(Source: Negro League Baseball Players Association.)