The Marlins named Kim Ng as their next general manager on Friday, marking a historic hire for Major League Baseball and the rest of the professional sports landscape. Ng is believed to be the first woman to be the general manager of a major North American men’s sports team.
The appointment has been a long time coming for Ng, whose career in baseball began as a White Sox intern in 1990. Here’s what you need to know about the Marlins’ new GM:
1. Ng played softball, in addition to other sports, as a child growing up on Long Island and in New Jersey. She was a Yankees fan, despite living in closer proximity to the Mets (in Queens) until she was 12.
"My dad was a big sports nut, so I grew up playing and watching a lot of different sports. I lived in Queens until I was 12. The Mets were right there, but I was actually a big Yankees fan, because in the late ’70s, the Yankees were such a great team. I grew up with all the greats -- Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson. I think the pace of the game and the nuance of the game were the things that really drew me to it," she said in an interview with the University of Chicago in 2018.
2. She attended the University of Chicago, playing on the Maroons’ softball team for all four years. Her senior thesis for her major in public policy was about Title IX. Ng said in 2011 that the idea of working in operations hadn't crossed her mind until she joined the White Sox, where she was initially a research assistant.
“I never thought about working in operations for a sports organization. I thought that marketing or sports information would be more likely areas. I just didn’t think there were opportunities in operations for someone like me until I went to the White Sox,” she said in an article published online by the Society for American Baseball Research.
3. As noted above, her baseball career began as an intern in 1990. The White Sox hired her on a full-time basis in '91, and by '95 she was the club's assistant director of baseball operations. She remained with Chicago through '96, at which point she started working for the American League as director of waivers and records, approving transactions and helping with the application of rules.
4. Ng now has the distinction of being the first woman to hold the title of GM for a major North American professional men’s sports team. But there have been other firsts along the way. In 1995, she was the first woman -- and youngest person -- to present a salary arbitration case.
5. In 1998, she achieved another first when the Yankees hired her as their assistant general manager at 29 years old. She became the youngest person in that role at the time. She worked for the Yanks through 2001, winning three World Series rings as an executive. The team made the playoffs in all four years that she worked there.
6. Ng is one of four women to hold the position of assistant general manager in baseball, along with Elaine Weddington Steward (Red Sox), Raquel Ferreira (Red Sox) and Jean Afterman (Yankees).
7. After the 2001 season, Ng joined the Dodgers organization as vice president and assistant general manager. She worked for the team through the '10 season, adding another four postseason appearances to her resume in Los Angeles. Ng handled more arbitration cases with the Dodgers, after doing so for both the White Sox and Yankees. With Los Angeles, she rarely went to an arbitration hearing, but she won the cases in the instances that she did.
8. While working with the Dodgers, Ng was also part of decision-making conversations on player transactions, including trades and free agency. She also oversaw pro scouting, among other departments. In 2004, she was interim farm director.
9. In 2011, Ng joined Major League Baseball as senior vice president of baseball operations, reporting to chief baseball officer Joe Torre -- becoming the highest-ranking woman working in the Commissioner's Office. She held that position until the Marlins hired her on Friday. Ng also worked on MLB’s diversity advisory council during her time with the league office.
10. Ng had interviewed for a number of general manager positions over the years, beginning with the Dodgers’ job in 2005. The team hired Ned Colletti instead. Other clubs she had been connected to in interview speculation at various points include the Mariners, Padres, Angels and Giants.
11. Ng has more than 30 years of experience working in baseball, including the eight postseason appearances noted above, three World Series titles and six League Championship Series appearances during her time as a club executive.
12. In her role as the first woman general manager, Ng is now the highest-ranking woman in baseball operations among the 30 teams. She is also the second person of Asian descent to lead a team, along with Farhan Zaidi, the current president of baseball operations for the Giants and former Dodgers GM.