George Stone was a late starter. It wasn't until he was 26 that he interrupted his employment as a banker in Coleridge, Nebraska, to take a shot at pro ball with Omaha of the Western League.
Stone had a unique batting style, for his day. He would crouch over the plate with the bat resting snugly on his shoulder and remain motionless. He was a line-drive hitter, and was fast. He was generally a fine defensive outfielder.
The Red Sox let him go to Milwaukee in 1903 after he pinch-hit twice for them without connecting. In Milwaukee he led the American Association with a .405 average. Stone had a series at Toledo that was talked about for a long time. He reached base 17 times in a row—15 on hits, two on walks. Manager Joe Cantillon liked him for reasons beyond his hitting and his speed on the bases. "He was a fine man to handle," said Cantillon. "He was in bed every night by 10 o'clock."
As to his fielding, it was written: "He wasn't noted for his fielding ability, but he sure could slam the pellet on the nose."
In December 1904 he was traded by the Boston Americans with cash to the St. Louis Browns for Jesse Burkett. Stone finally became a big league regular with the Browns in 1905 at age 28 and had a fine year, hitting .298 and leading the American League in hits. He dominated the AL the next season, hitting a circuit-best .358, but gradually slipped after that. In 1908, he came down with malaria, and the following year, his season was cut short when he suffered a broken ankle. In a seven-season career, Stone posted a .301 batting average with 23 home runs and 268 RBI in 848 games played.
Stone had another fling at baseball, but as an owner; he bought a controlling interest in the Lincoln Tigers of the Western League in 1916. After baseball he was a banker and enjoyed playing the violin. Stone died in Clinton, Iowa, at the age of 57.
In 1970 he was inducted into The Des Moines Register's Iowa Sports Hall of Fame.
In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, sportswriter Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter," consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Stone was the right fielder on Stein's Jewish team. His inclusion was later found to be in error as Stone was not Jewish.
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- Boston Americans, George Stone, Joe Cantillon, Lincoln Tigers, Milwaukee Bears, St. Louis Browns, The Western League