Home Books Biography Speaking Media Blog Mailing List Contact

Book Information

Chicago Review Press
Hardcover, 288pp

Buy the Book

Barnes and Noble


Radcliffe Quarterly Read All About It
“Baseball was Her Game: First to play professional baseball with men on men’s teams” San Francisco Chronicle
Read All About It
A Woman in the Hall of Fame? Toni Stone Would be Thrilled”
NPR’s Only a Game
Read All About It
Critical Acclaim

“We should thank Martha Ackmann for this introduction to the indomitable Toni Stone and for guiding us to a forgotten place in the sport’s history.”
—Frank Deford

"Curveball is an eloquent and a necessary work. Toni Stone’s life and this book are both wonders to behold.”
—Dayn Perry, columnist for FOXSports.com and author of Reggie Jackson: The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseball’s Mr. October

“As the Negro Leagues have faded form living memory, the tales have grown taller and truth has, sadly, become a casualty. Curveball bucks that trend, providing an unflinching and unvarnished account of Toni Stone’s life in baseball which ultimately does more to honor her legend and example than any amount of mythmaking.”
—Craig Calcaterra, NBC.sports.com

“Toni Stone is the dream all little girls dreamed when we ventured to the playground hoping the boys and the other big kids would let us play. But Toni didn’t want to ‘Play’ she wanted to ‘win.’ And that’s a big difference. Martha Ackmann has done a wonderful job telling the story of Toni Stone, this remarkable woman. There are no tears, no quit, no despair in baseball. Stand tall, keep your eyes on the prize. SWING!”
—Nikki Giovanni, poet and author of Bicycles

“Martha Ackmann manages to turn Toni Stone from a long-forgotten footnote in baseball history into a multidimensional, flesh-and-bone figure. We need to know her story, and in Martha Ackmann’s capable hands, we do. From this time forward it will be impossible to overlook Stone or her heroic contribution to both the national pastime and the cause of women’s rights.”
—Glenn Stout, author of Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Inspired the World, editor of The Best American Sports Writing 2009

"Curveball tells the remarkable story of Toni Stone, a trailblazer who broke gender barriers in the world of professional baseball. Her courageous journey and experiences are sure to be an inspiration to anyone seeking to make a way out of no way.”
—Donna Brazile, author of Cooking with Grease, syndicated columnist and Democratic strategist

"Martha Ackmann's biography of Toni Stone is three stories in one—of barnstorming baseball, the insidious Jim Crow era of segregation, and gender bias by blacks and whites. They are stories worth reading." 
—Larry Tye, author, Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend

“The story of a woman given a chance to pursue her dream of being a pro ball player, yet aware that she was being used as a gate attraction, shunned by many teammates and so often alone, reminds us of how far we’ve come but also how far we still have to go, A fine addition for all baseball shelves.”
—Library Journal

“Ackmann offers a multilayered narrative, telling the personal story of Stone, bringing to life the joys and frustrations of black baseball and effectively evoking the racial hatred and sexist disdain of the time. Other black players of her era-Henry Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks-went on to greatness in the big leagues, but age and gender denied Stone this chance. She played nonetheless and, as she once said, worked hard to "find the heart of the game." Expertly captures Stone's significant life and the impressive strength of her will.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“An engrossing and dynamic account of Toni Stone’s determination and love affair with baseball.”

“Here’s a history lesson worth reading.”
—ESPNRise magazine