Just a few days after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris became a shining role model for all the young girls and minorities, another remarkable woman shattered another glass barrier. On November 13th, 2020 Kim Ng was hired as full-time general manager of the Miami Marlins, becoming the first woman to serve this position in one of the major men’s professional sports in the United States.
Kim Ng spent most of her childhood in New York and unsurprisingly became a Yankees fan. Her childhood was marked with a keen passion and participation in sports such as softball and tennis. This passion didn’t disappear as Kim Ng grew, instead it only intensified. At the University of Chicago, Ng continued to play softball and was even the captain of her team. Her love of sports overlapped with her academics when she wrote her college thesis on the impact of the 1972 federal law Title IX that expanded women’s access to sports.
Shortly after graduating, Kim Ng took on an internship with the White Sox which would be the start of a long career in baseball. Because of her talent and hardwork, Kim Ng earned a promotion to Assistant Director of Baseball Operations while working with the White Sox. Even when she left the team, she quickly found new successes such as becoming the Yankees’ Assistant General Manager and in 2001, joining the Dodgers as vice president and assistant general manager. If that wasn’t enough Kim Ng also served as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball starting in 2011. Gaining vast experience and skills throughout her 30 year career, Kim Ng has already proven herself capable to take on the General Manager position.
With her promotion to General Manager of the Miami Marlins, Kim Ng has become the highest-ranking woman in professional sports management and the second Asian baseball operations leader. Her victory gives hope to young girls and young Asian Americans that the sports path is a viable option for them.
Her promotion reflects an effort to diversify MLB. Recently, MLB has increasingly pushed for more diversity. Despite this push though, Asian American representation has remained low. A 2020 report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport actually found that only 2.8% of team senior administration positions were filled by people who identified as Asian. The percent for team professional administration positions was only slightly better at 4%. Compared to the overall percentage of people of color in such positions remaining steady or even increasing, these numbers are not optimistic. That’s why Kim Ng becoming a general manager is so momentous.
Kim Ng’s accomplishment is worthy of celebration; however there is still room for more diversification and representation of Asian Americans in baseball. Eric Kubota, the Director of Scouting for the A’s, notes that if he were in college and had a role model like Kim he would have been given more motivation because Kim Ng represents the heights that Asian Americans can attain in baseball. Now there is proof that Asian Americans have reached the highest level of baseball.
What her achievement means for women can also not be ignored. 2015 was the first time Kim Ng interviewed for a general manager position in MLB. When she was turned down Joe Torre, Kim Ng’s boss at MLB said that the only thing between Kim Ng and a general manager job was the people doing the hiring. Her resume was solid but nobody was willing to break the gender barrier.
Her difficulties didn’t stop there. Kim Ng expressed how early on men would just not be used to seeing a woman in MLB as there would be a lot of side glancing going on. As a result, she continuously needed to prove her merit and earn the trust and respect of important figures in MLB. She expressed how it has been hard being a woman in baseball. While the situation has improved it is still far from perfect.
Still, Kim Ng remains undeterred. She vows to continue forward, hoping to bring championship baseball to Miami. It seems that her determination and passion have only strengthened with her new role as general manager. It will be exciting to see the amazing new things Kim Ng will accomplish.
Kepner, T. & Wagner, J. (2020, November 18). Kim Ng has been ready for years. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/18/sports/baseball/kim-ng-miami-marlins.html
Park, D. (2020, December 22). Ng hires a ‘spark’ for MLB Asian community. MLB.com. https://www.mlb.com
Spain, S. (2020, November 13). Kim Ng finally -- finally! -- lands general manager job in Major League Baseball. ESPN. https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/30 310556/kim- ng-lands- general-manager-job-major-league-baseball