For the first time in the history of major baseball, a woman will be the general manager of a franchise. His name: Kim Ng. His team: the Miami Marlins.
No, this is not a marketing stunt. It is a well-deserved appointment. When I was covering Major League Baseball in the early 2000s, Kim Ng was already one of the best heads in the business. His name had been circulated to replace Expos GM Omar Minaya, who was courted elsewhere.
Not because she was a woman.
Because she was a winner.
His journey is inspiring. Her master’s thesis is on gender equality in college sport in the United States. At 21, she obtained her first internship in major league baseball. With the Chicago White Sox. At the bottom of the ladder, as far from the field as possible. His task: to enter statistics at the mitt, in the team software.
From there she rose through the ranks. One by one. She prepares the White Sox arbitration files. Notably that of ace pitcher Alex Fernandez, represented by baseball’s most influential agent, Scott Boras. Cause she wins. The announcement of his victory went around the major leagues.
The New York Yankees recognized his potential. In 1998, they hired him as deputy general manager. A prestigious position. The number two franchise in baseball operations ever. During his four years in New York, the Yankees won the World Series three times. The other season? They escape the championship in the last leg of the last match.
His work with the Yankees elicits the most glowing reviews. In particular the owner George Steinbrenner, renowned archisévère with his directors.
Some teams are promoting women because it’s the right thing to do. But [Kim] deserves everything she got.
George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees when Ng worked there
Except that being part of a winning team also has a downside: its boss, general manager Brian Cashman, is in the saddle. He is still in office 20 years later. As Kim Ng’s opportunities for advancement with the Yankees were limited in 2001, she left the club for the Los Angeles Dodgers to fill the same role. It was from this moment that his name began to circulate each time a job was opened. In Montreal as elsewhere. She is a finalist several times. With the Dodgers. With the Angels. With the Mariners. With the Padres, twice.
The commissioner believes in her and appoints her vice-president of major league baseball operations. Another task she accomplished brilliantly.
With such a CV – eight playoff appearances, three championships – it is abnormal that Kim Ng had to wait more than 20 years to access a position she coveted, and for which she had all the skills.
Now the injustice is righted. 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 echelons. That said, Ng, 51, is the perfect person to break the glass ceiling. 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 persevering, by showing courage, by forging a shell and by being able to compartmentalize” information.
Will she win the World Series with the Marlins?
But his simple appointment is already a great victory in itself. Because it sends a strong message to young women – more and more numerous – who wish to make a career in the professional sports industry.
Now everything is possible.