Stone pitched for four MLB teams between 1971 and 1981. In 1980, he was the AL Cy Young Award winner and an American League All Star, finishing the season with a record of 25–7 for the Baltimore Orioles. He was WGN-TV‘s color commentator for Chicago Cubs broadcasts between 1983 and 2004, missing a couple of seasons late in his tenure due to health problems. He worked in radio until 2009, when he became the color commentator for Chicago White Sox television broadcasts.
Stone is Jewish, and was born in South Euclid, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb, to Dorothy (a waitress) and Paul Stone (who changed records in juke boxes, and later became an insurance salesman), who were Orthodox Jews. His maternal grandfather, Edward Manheim, lived to see Stone celebrate his bar mitzvah in September 1960. Stone played high school ball at Charles F. Brush High School for baseball Coach Jim Humpall. Growing up he also won several tennis championships, was a ping pong champion, and was a proficient golfer.
At Kent State University, Stone was an outstanding pitcher and his catcher was Thurman Munson. He was selected to the All Mid-American Conference team, and was named team captain as a junior. He had a 2.00 ERA for the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod League in 1968. He also starred on the bowling, volleyball, and tennis teams. He became a Brother in Alpha Epsilon PiFraternity. He graduated in 1970 with a teaching degree in history and government.
In 1968, he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 16th round of the draft, but did not sign. In February 1969, he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the fourth round of the draft (secondary phase).
From 1969–1971, Stone pitched in the minor leagues. In 1969, he pitched for the Fresno Giants, in 1970 for the Phoenix Giants and Amarillo Giants, and in 1971 again for Phoenix. He compiled a 32–24 record, and struck out nearly a batter per inning.