These women broke all barriers in baseball

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She’s not the only woman to be a trailblazer in Major League Baseball or even baseball. Over the course of baseball’s history, women have done amazing things to break down barriers.

These are just a few of the women who broke down barriers in baseball.

Rachel Balkovec — First female Minor League manager
Prior to Balkovec’s hiring as Low-A Tampa Tarpoons manager, she was already a rising star within the Yankees organization and the hitting coach for the Florida Complex League team. She was the first female full-time hitting coach in a Major League team when she was hired in December 2019,. She is an expert in baseball analytics and has conducted research on the eye movements of hitters as well as hip movements for pitchers at Driveline Baseball, Washington. She has also coached in the Australian Baseball League during her 10-year professional baseball career.

Genevieve Beacom — First female to participate in ABL
Beacom made history on Jan. 8, 2022, when the 17-year-old made her Australian Baseball League debut on the mound for the Melbourne Aces, becoming the first female player in the league’s history. She pitched a scoreless sixth innings for Melbourne against Adelaide Giants. Numerous future MLB players have been involved in the ABL, including Didi Gregorius Jr., Liam Hendriks and Didi Gregorius.

Sara Goodrum — Astros director of player development
She was hired by the Brewers in 2021. as Houston’s director for player development. She became the first female hitting coordinator of affiliated Minor League history. Her role is to supervise all player development staff as well as collaborate with coordinators in the core tasks of recruiting, hiring, and developing the staff. This includes overseeing the development and execution coaching philosophies and the creation and execution the player developmental goal process.

Kim Ng — The first woman to be named MLB’s GM
Ng became the Marlins’ first female general manager and was also the second Asian-American GM in MLB history. Ng is believed to have been the first woman to hold a GM post in any of the major North American professional sports. Ng came to the Marlins with immense experience in baseball, having worked in front office roles with the White Sox (1990-96), Yankees (1998-2001) and Dodgers (2002-11) — winning three World Series championships — before moving on to the Commissioner’s Office, where she had worked since ’11. When the Yankees hired Ng as an assistant GM at 29, she was the youngest person to hold such a title in MLB.

Alyssa Nakken — MLB’s first woman Major League coach
The former Sacramento State softball player joined Gabe Kapler’s San Francisco staff in January 2020, and became the first female full-time coach on a major league team’s staff. She was also the Major League assistant coach. After breaking down barriers, she was able to coach first base in an exhibition Giants game before the start of the regular season. This was the first time that a woman has served on an MLB field team. After Opening Day, Nakken donated her No. 92 Giants jersey to the Hall of Fame to commemorate the occasion.

Rachel Folden — Cubs’ hitting coach
The Cubs hired Folden 2019 as a leading hitting lab tech and fourth coach to their Arizona League affiliate in Mesa. The 32-year-old provided baseball and softball instruction based on biomechanics, science, technology and data since launching Folden Fastpitch in Indiana in 2010. Justin Stone also hired her to be a hitting consultant at Elite Baseball Training. Stone was appointed the Cubs’ new director for hitting in the previous year. Folden also played five seasons in the National Pro Fastpitch league (2008-12) and worked as an assistant softball coach at Valparaiso University (’09-10).

Andrea Hayden — First female strength and conditioning coach in MLB
Hayden was made an official member the Twins’ coaching team in November 2019,, making her Major League Baseball’s first female strength and conditioning coach. She was one of many female coaches hired in MLB, with Nakken, Balkovec, and Folden hired as Minor League hitting instructors respectively by the Yankees.

Raquel Ferreira — She is the highest-ranking female in baseball operations
Ferreira was one of four people who took over the Red Sox’s baseball operations in September 2019 when Dave Dombrowski was fired. Ferreira was then the senior VP of Major League and Minor League Operations with Boston. She became the highest-ranking female in a team’s baseball operations department during regular season. Ng was in a similar role with the Dodgers during the 2005 offseason, before a new GM was appointed. Ferreira has now been with the Red Sox for 22 years and was promoted to executive VP and assistant GM in December 2019.

Justine Siegal — The first female coach in MLB
Siegal was made a guest instructor by the A’s for their Fall 2015 instructional League in Arizona. She had already made history as the first woman to pitch batting practice for an MLB baseball team during 2011 spring training. In ’09, she became the first woman to coach at the professional level, when she manned the first-base coaching box for the independent Brockton Rox. Siegal, who founded a nonprofit organization called “Baseball for All,” also served as an assistant coach at Springfield College from 2008-10, before earning her first opportunity with an MLB team.

Jessica Mendoza — First national televised analyst for MLB games
Mendoza, a two-time Olympian and one of the greatest softball players ever, began her career at ESPN in 2007. She has served in many television roles. She began appearing on the network’s Sunday Night Baseball telecasts late in the ’15 season and then was named to that broadcast team in ’16. Four years later, as part of the ESPN Radio team for the ’20 World Series, she became the first woman to serve as an analyst on a national radio broadcast of the Fall Classic.

Mo’Ne Davis — Little League World Series Star
Davis was a major baseball star for her incredible pitching skills in the 2014 Little League World Series. Throwing a 70 mph fastball for her Philadelphia team, Davis became the first girl to pitch a shutout in Little League World Series history. Davis was the first Little League player to be featured on the Sports Illustrated cover.

Eri Yoshida — First professional woman to play in Japan
Yoshida was a knuckleball pitcher who played for the Kobe Cruise 9 in Japan, an independent league team. She later made the journey to the United States (at only 18 years old) and pitched in 21 more pro games from 2010-12, with the Golden Baseball League’s Chico Outlaws and North American League’s Na Koa Ikaika Maui.

Effa Manley — First woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame
In 2006, Manley was inducted into the Hall of Fame — 60 years after her Newark Eagles won the 1946 Negro World Series. Manley and her husband, Abe, took ownership of the Eagles in ’35 and held it until she sold the club in ’48. As co-owner, Effa was involved directly in the management and promotion of the team. Manley fought to get Negro League owners compensated when Major League clubs signed Black players.

Jean Afterman — Agent/executive
After Ng moved to the Dodgers, Afterman became the Yankees’ assistant general manager. She is the third woman to hold this position in MLB. Afterman moved from being an agent for Japanese stars Hideo Nomo and Hideki Irabu to helping bring new players like Hideki Mizuki to the Yankees. Twenty-five years later, she is still an executive with the Yankees, and one of the most highly respected in the game. 2015, She was elected to the advisory panel that oversees both the Commissioner’s Front Office (and the Field Staff Diversity Pipeline Program). In ’19, she was Baseball America’s choice for its first Trailblazer of the Year Award.

Ila Borders — Professional starter pitcher
Before she got a chance at the professional level, Borders became the first woman to pitch in a men’s college baseball game at the NCAA or NAIA levels, doing so in 1994 for Southern California College, where she earned a scholarship. The left-hander went on to a significant pro career, taking the mound in 52 independent league games from 1997-2000, making her the first woman to do so in integrated men’s baseball. Women had previously pitched in the Negro Leagues, and early pro leagues. See below. Her debut came as a reliever for the Northern League’s St. Paul Saints on May 31, 1997, and her first start came for the Saints on July 9, 1998. Borders won her first game later that month.

Elaine Weddington Steward — First female assistant to GM
Steward was the first woman to be an assistant GM in MLB, promoted by the Red Sox in 1990, eight years before Ng became the second woman to hold the position with the Yankees. Steward was the first Black woman to hold a top position in a Major League front desk. Thirty-two years after she first joined the Red Sox in 1988, Steward remains with the team as vice president/club counsel, making her one of the Red Sox’s longest-tenured employees.

Toni Stone — Toni Stone is the first woman to regularly play in a major men’s pro league
In 1953, when Stone joined the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League, she took the spot of none other than Hank Aaron, who had just signed with the Milwaukee Braves. Stone played for the Clowns that season and the Kansas City Monarchs in ’54, reportedly getting a hit off the legendary Satchel Paige. She had previously played professionally for teams in the West Coast Negro Baseball League, and Negro Southern League.

Mamie Johnson — The first woman to pitch in the Negro Leagues
The 5-foot-4 right-hander, nicknamed “Peanut,” spent three seasons on the mound for the Indianapolis Clowns, from 1953-55. Johnson, who was previously barred from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League because of her race, made the most out of her chance in the Negro American League. A true two-way player, she is believed to have compiled a 33-8 record on the mound while also holding her own at the plate.

Edith Houghton, Amanda Hopkins — First female Scouts
*Houghton and Hopkins are thought to be the only women who have been full-time professional MLB Scouts. (You could maybe also include Bessie Largent, who worked with her husband Roy for the White Sox in the 1920s and ’30s.) Houghton became the first in ’46, when she was hired by the Phillies, after playing as a shortstop herself in women’s baseball leagues. Hopkins was a pro-scout hired by the Mariners seventy years later.

Jackie Mitchell — Jackie Mitchell was the girl who discovered Ruth and Gehrig
In the spring of 1931, the Yankees played an exhibition game against the Chattanooga Lookouts, a Minor League team in the Southern Association. Lookouts owner Joe Engel signed Mitchell, a 17-year-old girl from Memphis, Tenn., to pitch in the game. Mitchell was an accomplished all-round athlete. She played for an all-girls team of baseball players and learned how to “drop ball” from Dazzy Vance, a Hall of Fame pitcher. Mitchell came out from the bullpen and struck out Babe Ruth with her left-handed sidearm. Before walking Tony Lazzeri, Mitchell did the same thing to Lou Gehrig. Mitchell was a member of the Barnstorming Team called The House of David. But, she is most remembered for her K’s of 2 Hall of Famers.

Lizzie Murphy, Lizzie Arlington — First professional women baseball players
Murphy, later known as the “Queen of Baseball,” grew up in Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century. At age 17, she became a professional baseball player when she signed with the Providence Independents. She went on to play for traveling all-star and barnstorming teams, and even played in exhibition games against Major Leaguers, including one against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in 1922.

Arlington played for a professional men’s baseball team on July 5, 1898, pitching an inning for the Reading Coal Heavers against the Allentown Peanuts in the Eastern League. She is a Pennsylvania native and pitched for the Philadelphia Nationals’ reserve baseball team that year. Ed Barrow, then president of the Atlantic League, hired her to participate in exhibition games against professional teams across the country.

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