We’re part of the League Now!
Baseball season is over, but women have made a mark on the MLB. Justine Siegal, was hired by Oakland Athletics to be a “guest instructor” with their Instructional League Team. That means, she is the first woman employed as a coach by an Major League Baseball Team.
As Betsy DeVos tries to dismantle Title IX, women continue to break through the glass ceiling in many ways. “We’re thrilled that Justine will be joining us for Instructional League,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst said (via the team’s Web site). “She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise from years of playing, coaching, and teaching the game, and all of our young players stand to benefit greatly from her time in camp.”
Ms. Siegal has a long history in the game. In 2009 she became the first woman to coach a men’s professional team when she served as first base coach for the Brockton Rox, an independent ball club. In 2011 she was the first woman to throw batting practice in the major leagues with the Cleveland Indian’s spring training camp. “As a rookie coach, I expect to hit a lot of fungos, throw a lot of batting practice and help out wherever they want me to help,” Siegal told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Siegal does more than just coach baseball, she is the founder and head coach of “Baseball for All,” a nonprofit organization that strives to expand opportunities in the sport, particularly for girls. Siegal has a Ph.D in sport and exercise psychology, as she told the San Francisco Chronicle, “ I do like talking about life skills – I like to help people achieve their life goals.” She translates these skills both on the baseball field and off the field.
Siegal will be with the A’s Instructional League from October 4 - 17. She follows in the footsteps of other women coaches who have broken through. In 2014, the San Antonio Spurs made Becky Hammon the first full-time female coach in any major U.S. pro sport. She led the team’s summer-league squad to the Las Vegas tournament title this year. Jan Welter became the first woman to coach NFL players with the Arizona Cardinals earlier this year.
The Future remains clearly, female.