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Kim Ng: 'This is beyond my expectations'

Marlins GM shares inspirations, journey in first press conference
@JoeFrisaro
November 16, 2020

MIAMI – When the Marlins named Kim Ng as their new general manager on Friday, she understood it was a monumental day for women in sports. She just never imagined the scope of support would create such an outpouring of responses from all walks of society from around the world.

MIAMI – When the Marlins named Kim Ng as their new general manager on Friday, she understood it was a monumental day for women in sports. She just never imagined the scope of support would create such an outpouring of responses from all walks of society from around the world.

“The idea that it has affected this many people is just extraordinary,” Ng said on Monday, when the Marlins introduced her. “I thought it would be a big deal, but this is beyond my expectations -- and I think beyond many peoples' expectations. But I think that really is a testament to where we are. People are looking for hope. People are looking for inspiration. I'm happy that this is a part of it.”

New GM Ng on next steps with the Marlins

The hiring has opened MLB’s door into the top ranks of the front office. That alone prompted an overwhelming amount of responses in society and through social media.

The “Who’s Who” list of her public endorsements includes Michelle Obama, Sharon Robinson (daughter of Jackie Robinson), Billie Jean King and Warren Moon.

"As the day unfolded, I was able to zoom out a little bit and realize just what was going on and just how much impact this was having over social media," Ng said. "It really became about me being able to share the moment with so many."

'There she is': Women in baseball react to Ng

By her estimation, congratulatory texts and e-mails surpassed 1,000 within the first 72 hours of the announcement.

Ng is the first woman GM in MLB history, and she also is the second person of Asian descent to lead an MLB team, following Giants president of baseball operations and former Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi. She is also believed to be the first woman to become a GM of any professional men's team in the major North American sports.

“Anybody who knows me knows that I have spent countless hours advocating for young girls, advocating for young women and really trying to help them advance their careers,” Ng said. “That's something that is so important to me. Now having this high-profile position, where you're out in public more ... there is an adage: ‘You can't be it, if you can't see it.’ I guess I would suggest to them, now you can see it.”

Everything to know about Marlins GM Kim Ng

The Marlins welcomed Ng into the organization with a virtual news conference on Monday at Marlins Park. She was introduced by principal owner Bruce Sherman and chief executive officer Derek Jeter.

Ng (pronounced ANG) turns 52 on Tuesday, and she’s already spent 30 years in professional baseball, including 21 in the front offices of the White Sox (1990-96), Yankees ('98-2001) and Dodgers ('02-11). She worked for MLB as senior vice president for baseball operations from '11 until her historic hiring by the Marlins.

Ng an 'unflappable, really sharp' star

“We are truly a fortunate organization to have someone with 30 years of experience, with three Major League teams and the past nine years with Major League Baseball.” Sherman said. “I can't think of anyone more qualified for the position than Kim.”

Ng becomes the fifth general manager in the Marlins’ history, and she becomes the point person over all baseball operations.

“I'm not sure how many people told me they were now Marlins fans, but it had to be at least 500 of them and their friends,” Ng said. “Because they've known about me for so long. I was going to tell Derek, 'You might want to stock up on some more hats.'“

These women broke barriers in baseball

The opening was created when the Marlins and former president of baseball operations Michael Hill were unable to reach agreement on a new contract in mid-October, and the two sides parted ways.

Ng’s previous experience with the Yankees creates a seamless transition with Jeter and many on the Marlins’ staff, including Gary Denbo, the vice president of player development and scouting.

“When I first reached out to Kim, through our first couple of conversations, it became evident to both of us that this was a perfect fit,” Jeter said. “We couldn't be more excited to have her experience and leadership lead us down our path to sustained success.”

The Marlins are an organization that prides itself on diversity, and Ng adds another perspective in the room.

“I do feel quite a lot of responsibility,” Ng said. “I have my entire career. I know that I am quite visible, and I think that has always been a big thing for me: To make my reputation as good as I can make it.”

Ng understands that breaking the glass ceiling and becoming the first woman GM creates a whole different set of pressure.

“When Derek told me that I got the job, there was a 10,000-pound weight lifted off of this shoulder,” Ng said. “Then about a half an hour later, I realized that it had just been transferred to [my other] shoulder.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.