By Fred Bowen,
Joseph Guzy/Miami Marlins AP
Big news in Major League Baseball (MLB) last week: The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager. Ng (pronounced Ang) is the first female general manager in MLB history.
Ng may be the first, but she’s no newcomer to baseball. Ng has been working in and around baseball for 30 years.
She started as an intern for the Chicago White Sox after graduating from the University of Chicago. At the beginning, Ng did the usual grunt work of any MLB front office, such as charting pitches or organizing information for the player draft.
Ng, however, moved up quickly. She served as an assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. She also worked in the MLB headquarters as the senior vice president of baseball operations. Ng knows baseball.
Several teams had previously interviewed Ng to be their general manager, but none hired her. So one of baseball’s biggest jobs stayed an all-boys club.
But there’s no reason a woman can’t do the job when you think of what an MLB general manager does. The GM (as the general manager is often called) makes decisions about which players the team should choose in the player draft. The GM also makes decisions about which players to get or let go in trades with other teams.
In addition, the GM decides how much money the team should pay each player. Nothing hurts a professional team more than to pay lots of money to a player who isn’t good.
So a general manager runs the team. The GM has to be smart, organized and have a good eye for baseball talent.
Now you may be wondering, doesn’t a general manager have to have played professional baseball to be a good GM? Not necessarily.
Theo Epstein is probably the most successful general manager in the past 20 years. Epstein became the GM of the Boston Red Sox in 2002 at age 28 and led the team to its first World Series championship in 86 years in 2004.
Epstein then moved to the Chicago Cubs and led that team to the World Series championship in 2016. It was the Cubs’ first championship in 108 years!
Epstein never played professional baseball. He never even played college baseball.
Ng has a tough job running the Marlins. Although the team slipped into the expanded playoffs in 2020, it had a record of 57-105 (57 wins, 105 losses) in 2019.
Hopefully, Ng will help the Marlins get better — and, more important, inspire other sports teams to give women a chance to lead.
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