Google Doodle Honors Late Pioneering Baseball Legend Toni Stone for BHM: 'Her Love for Baseball Won'

Google Doodle as part of Black History month by artist Monique Wray
Google Doodle as part of Black History month by artist Monique Wray

Monique Wray

Wednesday's Google Doodle honors baseball legend Toni Stone as part of the tech company's ongoing Black History Month celebration.

The animated image features Stone, who died in 1996 at age 75, playing professional baseball for the Indianapolis Clowns as a male athlete runs past her on the field. Stone, who joined the team in 1953, was the first of three woman to play professional baseball for the franchise.

The illustration was created by San Fransisco-based artist Monique Wray, whose work has been featured by The New York Times, Apple, Airbnb, Los Angeles Times, Lyft, Disney, Facebook, Random House, among other companies.

"The moving image not only draws inspiration from baseball action photography while incorporating Stone's sense of humor and iconic curly hair, it also brings Stone's legacy to life for new generations," a Google spokesperson tells PEOPLE.

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Monique Wray Instagram
Monique Wray Instagram

Monique Wray Instagram

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Stone broke barriers and blazed trails for women in the sport after becoming the first woman to play professional baseball as a regular in a men's major baseball league.

The Google Doodle is being shared on the one year anniversary of Stone being inducted into the into the Minnesota Sports Hall of Fame.

"Here's to you, Toni Stone—thanks for showing the world what determination and unstoppable love for the game can achieve," wrote Google in a news release.

Born in Bluefield, West Virginia in 1921 Stone later moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where she developed her skills as an athlete at a young age.

At 15, Stone made the roster of the all-male semi-pro Twin Cities Colored Giants. In 1946 she joined San Francisco Sea Lions.

Toni Stone
Toni Stone

Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images

Stone had an impressive batting average that helped her excel in the sport.

"Her exceptional batting average of .280 earned her a spot on the bench with the Negro League All-Star team while she continued to travel across the United States playing second base for the minor league New Orleans Creoles," added Google in the news release.

"In 1953, Stone filled the spot of future Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron as the second baseman for the Indianapolis Clowns, one of the League's most prestigious teams. Undeterred by taunts during her debut season with the Clowns, Stone hit a single off of Satchel Paige, who is widely considered the greatest pitcher in Negro League history."

Stone was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 and has been showcased in exhibitions by the National Baseball Hall of Fame. She also played alongside baseball legend Jackie Robinson and other significant figures in the sport throughout her career and retired from professional baseball in 1954.

She is remembered for overcoming both racial and gender discrimination. Stone's family released a statement in response to the Google Doodle and praised her as a hero who fought against racial tension.

"Toni's gift was to play sports and she is celebrated today because she fought to play in a mens' baseball club in Minnesota. With the help of her priest who spoke to the baseball club's coach, Toni got into the club. She was the first black woman to play in Minnesota's boys' league. She was active in tennis, skating, fishing, and baseball. Her love for baseball won. She fought hard to play in professional men's clubs. As a result, she was the first woman in the organized Negro Leagues and quickly drew attention for her baseball skills," the statement read.

"During Toni's career, she suffered humiliating prejudices from the audience and her teammates. However, she never let that stop her from playing baseball. She stood up to the other players; went out on the field;, and played the game. She used to say, "I am a woman, a Black woman, and I want and will play men's baseball. I'm not even getting paid the same amount of money these guys are making. But I do it because I love the game, and I do it to show other women that they can do it too. Remember, a woman has her dream too."