Kim Ng: Major League Baseball's First Female General Manager
This past November the Miami Marlins made the decision to hire Kim Ng, making her the first female and first Asian-American general manager in the history of Major League Baseball. After spending thirty years in baseball Kim Ng finally broke the barrier that was long overdue, and she has gained support from all over the league. She is the first woman to become a general manager in one of the four major North American sports leagues (Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League), paving the way for the next generation of women interested in having an occupation in the front office of a sports organization. With the MLB season rumored to begin next year in April, it will be interesting to see how Ng will help the Marlins return to the playoffs.
Kim Ng started her career when the Chicago White Soxs hired her for an internship in the front office shortly after she graduated from the University of Chicago in 1990. As she continued working for the organization she gradually progressed up the ranks and became the Assistant Director of Baseball operations for the team. At the age of twenty-six, Ng made history as the youngest person and the first woman to present a salary arbitration case. In this case, she successfully represented the White Sox organization against pitcher Alex Fernandez in 1995, saving the White Sox $650,000. At the age of 29, after a brief stint in the American League Office, she became the assistant general manager under Brian Cashman’s staff for the New York Yankees. Working with the New York Yankees, Ng met her current boss, Derek Jeter, who is widely considered to be one of the greatest to ever play baseball. She worked with the Yankees organization for three years before getting a job with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2001.
In Los Angeles, Ng made a name for herself as a contender to become a general manager for a professional baseball team. In 2005 she was given her first opportunity to be hired for that position. Unfortunately, the Dodgers hired Ned Colletti for the vacant general manager spot, but Ng was quickly rehired as the assistant general manager. Although she didn’t get the position, she continued to make it known that she was ready to become a general manager. In the span of 10 years Ng was interviewed by four teams including the Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and Seattle Mariners; none of the four hired her. On March 8, 2011, she informed the Dodgers that she would not return as assistant GM to take the job as Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for the MLB.
Since she was hired to become Senior Vice President she has stayed in that position for the rest of the past decade. During that time span she was recognized as one of the most influential minorities in sports, as well as one of the most powerful women in sports by Forbes in 2015 and Adweek in 2017. As the new general manager of the Miami Marlins she will be taking control over a team that has only birthed three wild card appearances, one coming from last year. Ng will be the main director of what will be done to improve the team, whether that is from the draft, trades, or free agency. All eyes will be on her when it comes to those aspects of the sport. The upcoming task may be a struggle, but many people believe there is no one more qualified than Ng for this position. Damon Oppenheimer, the Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting for the New York Yankees, stated that Ng had great people skills and that “she was probably the smartest person in the room.” Others have claimed that she was simply built for a position like this because she is able to handle difficult situations with grace and class, as well as being able to think about things before they cross other people’s minds. Ng is reported to have stated “There’s an adage: You can’t be it if you can’t see it. Now you can see it,” which truly embodies her situation now. From the difficult path she has taken and from all the denial she has faced in her career, Ng now has the opportunity to show just how prepared she is to be the next general manager of the Miami Marlins.