A Major League Baseball team hiring a new general manager doesn’t often make national news (maybe if the hire is a famous former player), but the Miami Marlins naming Kim Ng as their new GM is a historic, barrier-breaking move that got the attention of network newscasts and morning shows.
Ng becomes the first female general manager of a major American sports franchise and first Asian-American to get such a position. (San Francisco Giants GM Farhan Zaidi, of South Asian descent, was the first Asian to be a GM.) Having worked for 30 years in baseball — as an intern, assistant GM with the Yankees and Dodgers, and baseball operations executive with MLB — it was long overdue for Ng to get the opportunity to run a baseball team.
Breaking a gender barrier in sports is the kind of story that gets play on morning news programs. Ng was a guest on CBS This Morning Monday to talk about her new job, her career in baseball, and lifelong love of the sport. (She grew up a Yankees fan and Thurman Munson was her favorite player.)
Asked by CBS’s Tony Dokoupil if gender was the main factor in Ng not getting a GM job in baseball since interviewing for a position 15 years ago, she didn’t avoid the issue.
“Sure, I would say I had a very good résumé for a long time,” said Ng. “But it just never happened.”
Ng went on to say that Marlins CEO Derek Jeter called her to offer the job. The two have a working relationship going back to her four years in the Yankees’ front office during which she played a key role in negotiating Jeter’s 10-year, $189 million contract before the 2001 season.
Gayle King admitted not being a baseball fan before asking Ng whether she celebrated with friends and family upon getting the Marlins job. No “champagne or cupcakes” as King imagined, but Ng was playful in sharing the news with her family.
“I told my mom and four sisters the day after it happened,” said Ng. “I went out there to visit them and told them I was moving to Miami. They were completely perplexed and said ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Well, this former shortstop I know just made me the next general manager of the Marlins.’ They all screamed; I’m not a big screamer, but they all screamed.”
For someone who’s still a rather unknown figure, it was good to see Ng interviewed, speak on camera, and get to introduce herself to a mainstream audience. Hopefully, she becomes more of a face for the sport in the years to come.