The Miami Marlins have hired Queens native Kim Ng as their new general manager. This hiring makes Ng the first female general manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. Also, she is the first female hired to fill a general manager role in any of the professional men’s sports teams across North American major leagues, including the MLB, National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL). She is also the second person of Asian descent in MLB history to lead an operations department. Ng was the senior vice president of baseball operations in the commissioner’s office since 2011 before this hiring, as she reported directly to Joe Torre, the Office of the Commissioner’s primary liaison. She has been the highest-ranking Asian-American female in baseball since taking that job.
She has also been the assistant general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. During her run with both teams, she saw eight postseason appearances, six league championship appearances, and three World Series victories. She was more than qualified for the position to say the least. “This challenge is one I don’t take lightly. 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,” Ng stated after the hiring went public. “My goal is now to bring Championship baseball to Miami. I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans expect and deserve.”
Ng’s first hands-on experience in the MLB began in 1991 when she was hired as an intern for the Chicago White Sox. She handled ‘special projects’ and salary arbitration cases. She was impressive enough to catch the eye of former New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. So much so that he offered her the assistant general manager position with New York in 1998, making her the youngest assistant general manager in the league and one of only four women to hold the position. From there on she continued to impress the league with her complex understanding of rules, procedures, and other nitty-gritty aspects of the game.
Ng spent most of her childhood in our tri-state area of Queens, where her family (coincidentally enough) became Yankees fans. She attended Public School 173 in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and she often enjoyed playing stickball in the streets with friends and used whatever materials they had so they could enjoy the game. Ng’s family then moved out to Glen Cove on Long Island, and it was here where she played in her first organized softball league. Before her high school years began, the family moved again, this time to Ridgewood, New Jersey, where she played softball and tennis for the Ridgewood High School Rebels. She eventually attended the University of Chicago, where she played four years of Division III softball.
She was named team captain and ultimately team MVP and was president of the Women’s Athletic Association during the 1989-90 academic year. As a prominent figure of a major sports franchise, Ng will serve as a beacon of hope to other minorities looking to break onto the sports scene, just as tennis stars Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova did for Ng through their tennis greatness. Both fought for gender equality in sports and, in Ng’s words, Navratilova “changed the idea of what it looked like to be a female athlete.” In all likelihood, Ng will be Navratilova to somebody else one day.