Last Friday, the Miami Marlins of Major League Baseball (MLB) made a history-making hire. They choose Kim Ng to be their new general manager (GM), the first female GM ever in the sport.
— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) November 13, 2020
In fact, she's the first female GM in any of the 'Big Four' North American sports leagues (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). And while we're at it, she's also the first person of East Asian descent to be a GM in MLB.
Whew! That's a lot to digest and it brings up a couple of questions. Who is Kim Ng? And what does a GM do, anyway?
Ng has worked in baseball for 30 years, starting off as an intern (a student or recent graduate who works at a job to gain experience) and climbing all the way up one of the top positions in MLB.
Twenty-one of those years were in the front (top) offices of three MLB teams: Chicago White Sox (1990–96), New York Yankess (1998–2001), and Los Angeles Dodgers (2002–11). During her time at these clubs, their teams won three World Series titles. Also, she then worked for nine years as a senior vice-president of all Major Legaue Baseball. So she has seen and done a lot!
"When I got into this business," she said in a statement on Friday, "it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals. My goal is now to bring championship baseball to Miami."
Former New York Yankees superstar, Derek Jeter, is now the CEO of the Marlins. He played for the Yankess when Ng worked there and knows her well.
"[Ng's] leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success," he said in a statement. "Additionally, her extensive work in expanding youth baseball and softball initiatives will enhance our efforts to grow the game among our local youth as we continue to make a positive impact on the South Florida community."
Listen to the general (manager)
As Jeter suggests in that quote, Ng's new position is a huge deal. A team's general manager is not the coach (just called 'manager' in baseball). Instead, this person is responsible for what is known as 'building the team.' The GM has the final say on:
- selecting draft choices (picking young players entering the league)
- making trades (swapping current players for ones on other teams)
- signing contracts (how much money each player will receive and for how long)
- and that's just the start
It's a very complex job that demands that you know as much about money as you do about baseball. And it's one that Ng has been preparing for her whole life. In fact, she first applied to be a GM back in 2005 with the Dodgers. Fifteen years later, she finally has landed the big gig.
And as the first female GM in baseball, she'll likely have more than just Marlins fans rooting for her this coming season. Congrats, Kim!