This Day In History: November 13

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On November 13, 2020, veteran front-office official Kim Ng breaks several glass ceilings simultaneously when she is named General Manager of the Miami Marlins. Ng is the first woman and first person of East Asian descent to lead a Major League Baseball front office, as well as the first female GM in the history of North American professional men’s sports.

Ng, the daughter of two Americans of Chinese descent, played softball at the University of Chicago and wrote her college thesis on the effects of Title IX. She has spent her entire career in Major League Baseball, beginning with an internship for the Chicago White Sox. After six years with the White Sox, she worked in the offices of the American League before the youngest assistant GM in the league in 1998, when she was hired by the New York Yankees. Her talent was widely discussed during her time with the Yankees, who won three World Series in her four years in New York. In 2000, Yankees superstar Derek Jeter presented her with a Women in Sports and Events Award. She soon moved on to become Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, where she spent nine years before moving to the MLB front office.

Between 2005 and 2020, Ng reportedly interviewed for at least five vacant GM positions and was often referred to as a “GM-in-waiting.” Nonetheless, she did not receive an offer, even as young and relatively unproven male executives like Theo Epstein received acclaim and lucrative jobs across the league. It was Jeter, now the chief executive and part-owner of the Marlins, who finally picked Ng to lead a team’s baseball operations. “There’s an adage, ‘You can’t be it if you can’t see it,’” Ng said at a press conference announcing her appointment. “I suggest to them, ‘Now you can see it.’”

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