There are only 30 Major League Baseball [MLB] General Manger jobs, and until Friday, November 13, 2020, every one of those positions had been filled by a man. Today, there’s one that’s not. Kim Ng has been named General Manager of the Miami Marlins, the first woman and the first person of Chinese descent—and second Asian—to oversee all baseball related operations for a MLB team with the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.
“Kim’s appointment makes history in all of professional sports,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred stated in a press conference, “and sets a significant example for the millions of women and girls who love baseball and softball.”
In a press conference with MLB.TV on Monday, Kim said being hired by Marlins CEO and former New York Yankees superstar and Baseball Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, “Yeah, there were times where I felt like the interview wasn’t maybe on the up-and-up, but I will say that just by having my name out there was a source of hope for people. And so, you do it because you know that you just have to keep your name out there.” Kim and Derek knew each other from their time with the Yankees when Kim served as an assistant in the organization.
“It wasn’t about me, it was about others. It was about other owners who might give interviews to minorities and women. It was about the women behind me. Or it was about the women starting out in baseball and across sports, all sports. It was about just letting them know this was going on. You just have to keep plowing through,” Kim said, sitting on one side of home plate, Derek on the other. “It’s something we tell the players, ‘You can go down, and you can mope and sulk for a few days, but that’s it. Then you got to come back.’ ”
Kim, 51, a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball, attended Ridgewood High in New Jersey, and claims tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova as childhood inspirations. Now, she takes her place among the female trailblazers as the first woman to be a general manager in any major men’s sports league in North America and in so doing, shatters another glass ceiling. “When I got into this business,” Kim said, “it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.”
On the reaction of her appointment by her male colleagues, Kim said, ”I got calls and text messages from guys that I’ve known over the years who were just so excited to tell their daughters and wives, and then I got voice mails from friends, from front office executives with tears, just so happy that I had broken through. But really I think more for the sport and more about what it meant for us in society.”