In a sport where retreads are so often the default answer — see the managerial hirings of Tony La Russa, A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora just this offseason — it is incredibly refreshing to see teams look for new people to fill leadership roles within their franchises.
The Marlins announced on Friday morning that they have hired Kim Ng as their general manager, replacing Michael Hill, whose contract expired at the end of the season. Ng immediately becomes the highest-ranking woman in baseball operations for any club, and she’s the first woman general manager in baseball history. According to the wording of the Marlins’ press release, she’s “believed to be” the first for any North American professional men’s sport franchise. She’s also the highest-ranking Asian-American in MLB.
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Ng was hired by Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ CEO, and Jeter will get a lot of praise for making this historic hiring, as he should. But let’s be sure to give most of the credit here to Ng, for spending her career building an air-tight resume in baseball and earning the respect of those in the game. Also, the phrase “outside the box hire” has already been bandied about, but let’s be clear about one thing: Hiring Ng is only “outside the box” because no other franchise has hired a woman GM, not because Ng is short of credentials and/or experience for the job.
This is not a publicity hire. This is a “make the Marlins better” hire. End of story.
Ng has spent most of her baseball career behind the scenes, earning the respect of those inside the sport but out of the public’s view. According to this story, by 2017 she’d been through seven interviews for GM jobs. Lots of baseball fans haven’t heard of her, the same way they haven’t heard of lots of assistant GMs or baseball lifers who “suddenly” earn higher-profile positions.
So, we’re here to help.
What’s on Kim Ng’s resume?
Chicago White Sox, 1990-96. Ng started as an intern with the club, moving up through various roles until she was promoted to assistant director of baseball operations.
American League office, 1997. Ng was the director of waivers and records.
New York Yankees, 1998-2001. At just 29 years old, Ng was hired as the club’s assistant general manager, the youngest person to hold the role at that time and only the second woman ever to have the title. It’s here that she worked with Jeter, who was ascending to superstar status as the club won World Series titles in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Los Angeles Dodgers, 2002-11. Ng moved from NYC to Los Angeles as the club’s vice president and assistant general manager. Ng was involved in pretty much every aspect of the club, including “assisting the general manager in all facets of Major League player acquisitions, overseeing the club’s arbitration efforts, and managing the daily responsibilities of the baseball operations department,” as told in an MLB news release. It’s during this time that Ng first interviewed for an open GM position, in 2005.
MLB, 2011-2020. Ng was hired to work with Joe Torre as a senior vice president of baseball operations. She, again, handled a variety of roles, including overseeing international baseball operations for MLB.
Where is Kim Ng from?
Ng was born in Indianapolis, but grew up in Queens, Long Island and New Jersey. She graduated from the University of Chicago, with a degree in public policy.
What people have said/are saying about Kim Ng
Derek Jeter, in the Marlins news release: “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. 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.”
Kim Ng once reached out to me to walk her through Baseball Savant so she could better understand what data/metrics are available. She was awesome to talk to and has a deep understanding of baseball and advanced stats. Phenomenal hire for @Marlins.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) November 13, 2020
Dan Evans, former White Sox GM: “Kim is one of the most inquisitive minds I’ve ever been around. She asked really solid questions as to why we were doing certain things. As a result, it made me rethink some of my beliefs and procedures. You could tell that she was going to go far because she had that combination of street smarts, book smarts, and stick-to-it-ive-ness that you can’t teach.”
Ned Colletti, former Dodgers GM: “As I told her (after the Padres interview): ‘This is no longer up to you. You’re prepared. You just need the opportunity and someone to believe in you and give you a chance.’ It’s beyond her control at this point. She’s done everything she can to put herself in that position. She deserves the opportunity and it will take someone willing to give her the opportunity to make it happen.”