By Ken Reed
The Miami Marlins hired long-time baseball executive Kim Ng to be their new general manager Friday. Ng becomes the first female GM in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. She’s also the first Asian American GM in MLB history. Moreover, Ng is now the first female GM in a major North American men’s professional sports league.
Ng was hired by Derek Jeter, the first Black CEO/president in Major League Baseball. The Marlins also have one of the highest ranking women in pro sports in chief operating officer Caroline O’Connor.
That makes the Miami Marlins the most progressive pro sports franchise in North America today. And it makes Jeter the modern-day Branch Rickey. Rickey broke baseball’s color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson and promoting him to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.
“I think this is the most noteworthy day for baseball since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947,” said Richard Lapchick, a diversity in sports expert and sports management professor at the University of Central Florida.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers GM and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Dan Evans also deserves a lot of credit for Ng’s success. Evans hired Ng as a White Sox intern in 1990, over approximately 100 other applicants at a time when women in baseball operations was basically unheard of. He also hired Ng as an assistant GM in Los Angeles.
“The best intern I ever hired,” said Evans. “She’s fabulous. She’s worked hard. Nothing’s been handed to her, ever.”
Evans, maybe more than anyone, knows what Ng’s had to deal with on her climb up the ladder in the notoriously conservative boys club that is Major League Baseball.
“We’ll never fully know how uncomfortable it was at times to have that kind of pressure, to be the lone woman in the room,” said Evans.
“To go through some of the harassment and crap she had to go through … for her to go through that and surface to where she is today, I’m thrilled for her.”
Maybe Billie Jean King, a long-time crusader for women’s equality in sports, said it best with a one-word tweet.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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