Female coaches, referees and athletes have been having a breakout year, asserting their dominance, breaking down gender barriers and generally showing that the "fairer" sex is just as athletic as men. Whether it was Jen Welter becoming the NFL's first female coach, Sarah Thomas becoming the NFL's first referee or a record 20.3 million Americans watching the U.S. Women's FIFA championship victory, 2015 has been full of inspiring moments by pioneering women in sports. Now it's time to add another to that list: Justine Siegal, the first female MLB coach.
Siegal, also the first woman to coach men professionally at any level in 2009 as the first base coach for the independent league Brockton Rox, was hired by the Oakland Athletics as a guest instructor for its Instructional League club. She'll work with A's minor league players from Oct. 4-17.
A's assistant general manager David Forst told the San Francisco Chronicle, "We feel like Justine has a lot to offer and that [the Instructional League] is a great place to get her feet wet. She'll be doing a little bit of everything."
Siegal told the paper by phone, "It's a dream come true. The A's are a first-class organization and it will be an honor to wear their uniform."
The hire is a landmark for the MLB, following in the footsteps of the NBA and NFL in bringing women into another longtime boys-only club, and leaves the NHL as the only major American sports league that hasn't had a female coach. Siegal is much like her counterparts Welter and Thomas in the NFL in that she doesn't need to make a big fuss over her status as a pioneer — she was all business discussing her new job.
"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 said. "And I do like talking about life skills — I like to help people achieve their life goals."
Cover image: Wikimedia