International Women's Day: 5 who are changing the game

March 8th, 2024

Every year, International Women’s Day commemorates the achievements of women around the world.

With Friday marking the 2024 edition of the holiday, it’s time to celebrate some of the trail-blazing women working to make baseball better.

From the front office to the field to the broadcast booth, here are five game-changing women in baseball everyone should know.

Front office: Eve Rosenbaum
Orioles assistant general manager

The Orioles won 101 games and the American League East title during a resurgent 2023 season, and Rosenbaum was part of the reason why. Promoted to assistant general manager in June 2022, Rosenbaum has been with Baltimore since November 2019, when she started out as the club’s director of baseball development. A 2012 graduate of Harvard, where she played for the Crimson softball team, Rosenbaum worked for the NFL before being hired by the Astros in January 2015. She started out as Houston’s coordinator for international baseball operations and was serving as the Astros’ manager of international scouting when the Orioles hired her away.

It was a fitting homecoming for a Maryland native who grew up an Orioles fan, attending 60 to 70 games a year at Camden Yards as a child. At the time of her 2022 promotion, Rosenbaum was the fourth woman to hold an assistant GM position, but she told’s Mark Feinsand in 2023 that she isn’t constantly thinking about the history she’s making. “To me, I'm just Eve and I'm just doing my job,” Rosenbaum said. Still, Rosenbaum knows the importance of her achievement when it comes to breaking barriers for other women in baseball. “... I'm not naive enough to think it doesn't matter or people aren't thinking about it or it isn't an accomplishment,” she said.

MLB coach: Alyssa Nakken
Giants assistant coach

In 2020, Nakken became the first woman to hold a coaching position on a Major League staff. It was the start of a historic career for Nakken -- and she’s only getting started. After moonlighting as San Francisco’s first-base coach during a July 2020 exhibition game, Nakken became the first woman to coach on the field during an MLB game on April 12, 2022, when she filled in for first-base coach Antoan Richardson. “It’s certainly important for people to be able to see that this is an opportunity and they can see somebody that kind of looks like them going out there and coaching in the big leagues,” Nakken said at the time.

A three-time all-conference softball standout at Sacramento State, Nakken joined the Giants in 2014 as a baseball operations intern. At the time of her January 2020 hiring as an assistant, she was overseeing the organization's health and wellness initiatives. When the Giants dismissed manager Gabe Kapler late in the 2023 season, they formally interviewed Nakken as a candidate to replace him -- she is believed to be the first woman to have interviewed for an MLB managerial role. Nakken is also a first-time mother: She and her husband Robert welcomed their daughter Austyn on Jan. 21.

Minor League coach: Ronnie Gajownik
Position: Amarillo Sod Poodles bench coach (D-backs' Double-A affiliate)

When Gajownik was hired to manage the Hillsboro Hops, the High-A affiliate of the D-backs, in January 2023, it was a special moment for her. “It's showing little girls and showing women that we're breaking the glass ceiling and we're leaving breadcrumbs for everybody behind us for us just to keep adding on to it to see how far we can go,” Gajownik said. Gajownik herself keeps going further: 2024 will be her first season as bench coach for the Double-A Amarillo Sod Poodles, with whom she spent the 2022 season as a first-base coach.

Gajownik's path began as a softball player at South Florida and an assistant softball coach at Liberty and UMass Amherst before she joined the D-backs organization in 2021 as a video assistant for the Hops. Two years later, Gajownik was tabbed to manage the club. “Hopefully, everybody who's been involved with me and also hopefully all the little girls and the women who are seeing this know that if you're qualified, you can do it,” she said at the time. “And ... that's all you need to be. If you're qualified, you can go ahead and do whatever it is you're passionate about."

Gajownik became the second woman to manage a Minor League team. (Rachel Balkovec, the first female skipper in the history of Major or Minor League baseball, managed the Tampa Tarpons -- the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate -- for two seasons before being hired as the Marlins’ director of player development in January.) If Gajownik's 2024 promotion is any sign, it might not be long before she reaches the big leagues.

Broadcaster: Jenny Cavnar
A's primary play-by-play commentator, NBC Sports California

As the first woman in MLB history to serve as a club’s primary play-by-play voice, Cavnar is well aware she’s treading new ground -- and she’s aware of those who paved the way, too. After being named the Athletics’ lead play-by-play announcer by NBC Sports California on Feb. 13, Cavnar knows Yankees radio color commentator Suzyn Waldman and Orioles broadcaster Melanie Newman are among the many women who helped her get here. “I’m so grateful for the people that put me in this position,” Cavnar said. “Those women are so empowering because you have to have decision-makers to get to this point. I’m really grateful for all of us being able to make this a reality.”

Cavnar was previously the Rockies' backup play-by-play announcer and pre- and postgame host. In 2018, she became the first woman to provide TV play-by-play commentary during a game against the Padres. In 2021, the National Sports Media Association named Cavnar the Colorado Sports Broadcaster of the Year. Now, she’s taking on a new challenge for an A’s club she grew up loving. “There’s always an idea of being a woman in sports that you have to prove yourself time and time again,” Cavnar told “Because of that experience and now going into my 18th season of being a broadcaster of Major League Baseball, whatever the title is, I’m a little more comfortable in my own skin knowing that I’ve done the work and I just need to be myself."

Umpire: Jen Pawol

Part of the umpiring crew for a Feb. 24 Spring Training tilt between the Astros and Nationals, Pawol accomplished something that hadn’t been done in 17 years. She became the first woman to serve as an umpire in a Spring Training contest since Ria Cortesio in 2007. “It was one of those games I’ll remember,” crew chief Lance Barksdale said of Pawol’s Spring Training debut. “You always remember your first World Series, first All-Star Game and all that, but it will be a special time for me to remember this time I got to share with her on the field tonight.” Pawol could be set to make more history. No woman has umpired a regular-season Major League game, but Pawol could be the first: She's on the MLB Call-Up list as a potential fill-in or replacement umpire.

Pawol umpired her first Minor League game in 2016 and is one of seven women who have served as Minor League umps. Only Pawol and Pam Postema (1988-89) have reached the Triple-A level. In her 18th season as an umpire and her 10th professional year, the former catcher at Hofstra University said she loves being on the field. “It’s in my DNA,” Pawol said. “Catching and playing multiple sports throughout my career, catching a little bit on the side and things like that, all of that has culminated to help me be ready to be an umpire.”