Women in Sports: Miami Marlins Hire Kim Ng, Breaking a Baseball Gender Barrier

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

Ng has twice been an assistant general manager, but after 30 years in the game she will be the first woman to lead a major league front office.

Kim Ng has long been viewed as the person who would break one of baseball’s most stubborn barriers. Thirty years ago, Ms. Ng, 51, started work in the game as an intern for the Chicago White Sox, attempting to carve out a career in a sport dominated by men. She worked her way up, earning senior positions with the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers and, most recently, serving as Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of baseball operations. On Friday, she became the first woman hired to run a major league team’s baseball operations when she was named general manager of the Miami Marlins. “This challenge is one I don’t take lightly,” Ms. Ng said in a statement released by the team. “When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.”

The significance of Ms. Ng’s hiring extends beyond baseball, as she is the first woman to be a general manager in any of the major men’s sports leagues in North America. The move, to many in baseball, was considered long overdue and comes at a time when several other women are moving up the ranks of the sport after years of resistance, and as women begin to populate the benches and boardrooms of professional football and basketball teams.

“I felt from 15 years ago that she was always the best candidate for the job, and for whatever reason, people weren’t prepared to make that move,” said Dan Evans, who in 1990 hired Ms. Ng as an intern for the Chicago White Sox. “So I congratulate the Marlins, because this is not just a baseball move, this is a generational move. Young women throughout the world view Kim differently today, and this gives them hope that that platform could be theirs someday.”

Ms. Ng (pronounced “ANG”) has a formidable résumé: After seven years with the White Sox, she spent 13 as an assistant general manager, first with the Yankees before leaving in 2002 to rejoin Mr. Evans, who was running the Dodgers. All of those teams reached the postseason during her tenure, but while Ms. Ng received interviews for at least four general manager openings, she was not chosen for the role until Friday. Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ chief executive, was the Yankees’ star shortstop during Ms. Ng’s time as assistant general manager to Brian Cashman. Mr. Jeter cited her “wealth of knowledge and championship-level experience” in naming her as the top decision-maker on his baseball operations staff. She will be responsible for, among other things, making trades, negotiating contracts, running the team’s draft and managing its moves in free agency. “Kim’s appointment makes history in all of professional sports,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement, “and sets a significant example for the millions of women and girls who love baseball and softball.”