Kim Ng becomes 1st female GM in MLB history with Marlins: 'Not only a historic move, it is well earned and the right hire'

Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune
·5 min read

CHICAGO — Former Chicago White Sox employee Kim Ng was named the general manager of the Miami Marlins on Friday, becoming the first woman in charge of a Major League Baseball team.

Ng, 51, began her career 30 years ago as a front-office intern with the White Sox and later became an assistant general manager with the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. She spent the last nine years with MLB as senior vice president of baseball operations.

“I entered Major League Baseball as an intern and, after decades of determination, it is the honor of my career to lead the Miami Marlins as their next general manager,” Ng said in a statement. “We are building for the long term in South Florida, developing a forward-thinking, collaborative, creative baseball operation made up of incredibly talented and dedicated staff who have, over the last few years, laid a great foundation for success.

“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. 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.”

The Sox hired Ng as an intern in 1990 after she graduated from the University of Chicago, where she studied economics and public policy and played softball.

“The best intern I ever hired,” former Sox assistant GM Dan Evans once said. “She’s fabulous. She’s worked hard. Nothing’s been handed to her, ever.”

Ng worked her way up to assistant director of baseball operations with the Sox before joining the American League office in 1997.

She joined the Yankees after the 1997 season, becoming the youngest assistant GM in MLB at 29 and only the second woman to attain that position with a major-league club. She was the Dodgers’ vice president and assistant general manager from 2002-11.

“She has all the skills to be a general manager,” Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf told the Tribune in 2018. “She has been in the game for 20 years. Somebody is going to crack that glass ceiling one of these days.”

That somebody turned out to be Ng, the former boss of Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, the Hall of Famer who is now the Marlins CEO. On Friday, Jeter and the Marlins made history with the hiring of the first female and first Asian American GM.

She is believed to be the first female general manager of a major professional men’s sport team in North America, the Marlins said.

“Her leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success,” Jeter 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.”

The Sox congratulated Ng in a statement from senior executive vice president Howard Pizer.

“When Kim Ng walked through our ballpark’s doors to begin her Major League Baseball career, she quickly impressed us all with her knowledge, drive and hard work,” the statement read. “We are very proud to be one of the fortunate organizations to have worked with Kim on her journey into a role she truly deserves and earned.

“Baseball is stronger when people of all backgrounds, experiences and identities are involved. Kim most certainly is proof of that, and her friends at the White Sox celebrate her accomplishment. … We are so proud of her start with us and congratulate her on this historic first.”

Reaction from around the baseball and sports world was largely positive.

“Kim is universally respected around the game and is so clearly qualified for this job,” Cubs President Theo Epstein said. “It’s a great day for the industry and all those who work in it.”

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement: “All of us at Major League Baseball are thrilled for Kim and the opportunity she has earned with the Marlins. Kim’s appointment makes history in all of professional sports and sets a significant example for the millions of women and girls who love baseball and softball. The hard work, leadership and record of achievement throughout her long career in the national pastime led to this outcome.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who hired her in New York 23 years ago, said: “It is wonderful seeing people accomplish their stated goals, and this has been a dream of hers for as long as I’ve known her. She will provide the Marlins with vast experience and institutional knowledge, along with a calm demeanor and an amazing ability to connect with others.”

St. Louis Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said: “I have admired Kim for a long time and happy to see her get this opportunity. It is well earned and well deserved.”

Former Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, whom Ng worked under, said it was “not only a historic move, it is well earned and the right hire” by the Marlins.

“Kim will be excellent,” Colletti said. “She was ready a decade ago, in my opinion. We talked about it many times. Very proud to have worked with her and to know here.”

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