By: Jesse Rogers
The Miami Marlins are hiring Kim Ng as their new general manager, making her Major League Baseball’s first female GM, the team announced Friday.
Ng, 51, has most recently served as MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations for the past nine years, when she was the highest-ranking Asian American female baseball executive. She has also served as assistant general manager for the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, working with teams that made the playoffs eight times and won three World Series titles.
“On behalf of Principal Owner Bruce Sherman and our entire ownership group, we look forward to Kim bringing a wealth of knowledge and championship-level experience to the Miami Marlins,” Marlins CEO Derek Jeter said in a statement. “Her leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success. 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.”
Ng, who broke into baseball as an intern and also spent time in the Chicago White Sox front office, will be the highest-ranking woman in baseball operations among the league’s 30 teams and is believed to be the first female general manager in any of the four major North American men’s sports leagues.
“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.”
Ng will be the fifth person to lead the Marlins’ baseball operations. She succeeds Michael Hill, who was not retained after the 2020 season.
“All of us at Major League Baseball are thrilled for Kim and the opportunity she has earned with the Marlins,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “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, and we wish Kim all the best as she begins her career with the Marlins.”
Jeter became baseball’s first Black CEO after his group bought the Marlins in 2017. He then hired Caroline O’Connor, who as senior vice president is one of the highest-ranking women in professional sports.
The Marlins achieved surprising progress in Year 3 of Jeter’s rebuilding effort, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2003 and sweeping the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card round. They were swept by the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series.
The Marlins have never made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and they did so in 2020 with the worst run differential (-41) of any team in the postseason. Ng inherits a roster that has the lowest current payroll for the 2021 season at $46.5 million and only one player, shortstop Miguel Rojas with a $5.5 million club option, under contract for the 2022 season.
“I’d like to welcome Kim Ng to the Miami Marlins. I am proud of the Marlins for this hiring. It is a special day for this team,” Rojas said through a Marlins player representative. “Kim is one of the most qualified individuals for our GM role, and we are grateful to have her as part of our team. I am excited to go to work with her and bring a championship to Miami.”
Ng started her baseball career with the White Sox and rose to become assistant director of baseball operations. She worked for the American League for one year and then joined the Yankees, becoming the youngest assistant general manager 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.
“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,” White Sox senior executive vice president Howard Pizer said in a statement. “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.”
Said Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in a statement: “This has been a dream of hers for as long as I’ve known her. As Assistant General Manager with the Yankees, she was indispensable to me when I first began my tenure as the GM. Kim was a tireless and dedicated executive back then, and in the ensuing years, she has ceaselessly added to her skill set to maximize her talent. She will provide the Marlins with vast experience and institutional knowledge along with a calm demeanor and an amazing ability to connect with others — all of which will serve her well in her new leadership role as head of baseball operations. I offer my congratulations to her and to the Marlins organization.”
Jean Afterman, who has been the Yankees’ assistant general manager since succeeding Ng nearly 20 years ago, said her predecessor possesses talents that are gender-blind.
“It is a tremendous achievement to be the first female GM in Major League Baseball, and I hope young girls (and boys) take notice of this and further understand that there are no limits to their dreams,” Afterman said in a statement. “I congratulate the Marlins — that after a remarkable season, during extraordinary times — they have broken a barrier that needed shattering.”
With MLB, Ng directed international baseball operations, working with the front offices of the major league clubs and many other baseball leagues and entities around the world. She led a team that set policy for and enforced international signing rules, established MLB’s first system for registering international players for signing, managed protocols for signing international players and negotiated agreements with international winter leagues.
Ng graduated from the University of Chicago, where she played softball and earned a degree in public policy.
ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and The Associated Press contributed to this report.