For the first time in the history of big baseball, a woman will be the general manager of a franchise. His name: Kim Ng. His team: Miami Marlins.
No, this is not a marketing stunt. It is a well-deserved deal. When I covered Major League Baseball in the early 2000s, Kim Ng was already one of the best heads in the industry. His name had been circulated to replace Expo’s GM Omar Minaya, who was planed elsewhere.
Not because she was a woman.
Because she was a winner.
His journey is inspiring. Her master’s thesis is about gender equality in college sports in the USA. As a 21-year-old, she got her first practice in baseball in the major league. With the Chicago White Sox. At the bottom of the ladder, as far from the ground as possible. His task: to enter statistics on the mitten, in the team software.
From there she climbed through the ranks. One after another. She is preparing White Sox arbitration files. Especially the one to the ace pitcher Alex Fernandez, represented by baseball’s most influential agent, Scott Boras. Because she wins. The announcement of his victory revolved around the major leagues.
The New York Yankees recognized their potential. In 1998, they hired him as deputy director. A prestigious position. Number two series in baseball operations ever. During his four years in New York, the Yankees won the World Series three times. The second season? They escape the championship in the last stage of the last match.
His work with the Yankees arouses the most glorious reviews. Especially the owner George Steinbrenner, famous archisévère with his directors.
Some teams promote women because it is the right thing to do. But [Kim] deserves everything she got.
George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees when Ng worked there
Apart from being part of a winning team, it also has one drawback: the boss, general manager Brian Cashman, is in the hall. He is still in office 20 years later. Kim Ng’s chances of advancing with the Yankees in 2001 were limited, so she left the club for the Los Angeles Dodgers to take on the same role. It was from this moment that his name began to circulate every time a job was opened. In Montreal as elsewhere. She is a finalist several times. With the Dodgers. With the angels. With the sailors. With Padres, twice.
The commissioner believes in her and appoints his vice president for baseball operations in the major league. Another task she performed brilliantly.
With such a CV – eight playoff appearances, three championships – it is abnormal that Kim Ng had to wait for more than 20 years to get to a position she wanted, and for which she had all the skills.
Now the injustice has been rectified. Finally. Thanks to a man who saw his talent in New York, former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, now owner of the Marlins.
His first months will be difficult. Baseball is an extremely macho world. On the ground, but also in the upper layers. That said, Ng, 51, is the perfect person to smash the glass roof. She has been in the business for 30 years. She knows the song. In an interview two years ago, she explained that she succeeded in a man’s world “by enduring, by showing courage, by forging a shell and by being able to share” information.
Will she win the World Series with the Marlins?
But his simple deal is already a big win in itself. Because it sends a strong message to young women – more and more – who want to make a career in the professional sports industry.
Now anything is possible.