Written by Alexis Barton
This week, the Miami Marlins made history as they hired Kim Ng, the first female General Manager in the history of any men’s professional sports league in North America. After a successful career, breaking history along the way with 3 other MLB franchises, Ng interviewed for a number of other GM positions with other franchises before landing with the Marlins. With plenty of major league experience, most recently as the Assistant General Manager for the New York Yankees, she is now tasked with leading the team through some major transitions with CEO Derek Jeter. After missing the playoffs for 16 seasons, the Marlins were able to win their wild card series against the Chicago Cubs before being swept by the Atlanta Braves. The challenge for Ng now is paving the way for women in the sports industry while leading her franchise to long-term success.
The Marlins are not alone in their efforts to allow greater opportunities for women in the sports industry. During the World Series between Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers, Jessica Mendoza made history with ESPN by being the first woman to serve as a national World Series game analyst on a major media platform. Mendoza’s presence in radio coverage shows the slow, but meaningful progress that has been made in professional baseball specifically. In addition to analysts like Mendoza showing a positive change, the MLB has also created a new position with the sole purpose of creating an inclusive environment for women and people of color. In August, commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Michele Meyer-Schipp would be the new Chief People and Culture Officer for the league. This decision came after the MLB’s poor ratings in diversity within their players, front offices, and other workplace operations. This role should create more pathways for marginalized groups that have often been left out of the professional sports industry.
A few short years ago, it seemed as if the metaphorical glass ceiling was a reality for women in sports, with many only reaching certain ranks within various offices across the professional leagues. In the MLB specifically, this progress for the inclusion of women has been even harder to come by. With the hiring of the league’s first female coach, Alyssa Nakken, and now the league’s first female general manager, the possibilities now seem endless for young girls and young women who dream of making careers in the sports industry.