Yesterday the news came that Joe Torre, in moving to his new gig with MLB, is taking Dodgers Assistant GM Kim Ng with him. She told the LA Times she still wants to be a GM eventually (she has already interviewed for three GM positions); if we get a woman GM in baseball in the next decade, she will likely be the first. To the best of my knowledge, Ng is the only woman who’s really been seriously considered for that gig. The Yankees Assistant GM Jean Afterman – who took over Ng’s job when Ng left for LA in 2001 – is the only other woman in a front office position that high, so far as I’m aware, but I haven’t heard anything about her being considered for a top post anywhere, nor do I know if she even has any interest in that (although this 2007 Crain’s article implies that she does, or at least did at one point).
Ng, on the other hand, has frequently been discussed as a candidate (and even championed for that role by Joe Torre, quoted by Yahoo! as saying a few years ago: “Dealing with her this winter, this spring and so far this summer, I’ve been impressed with how ready she’d be for something like that… I hope to hell it happens. She’d be a ground breaker not only for baseball but for women.” No wonder he took her with him to MLB, thereby helping her escape from the McCourt’s sinking ship, and hopefully positioning herself well for future openings.
Realistically, there will not be a female manager any time soon – even setting aside sexism (of which there is still plenty in baseball), the pool of candidates is almost entirely former professional players. There are reasons for that, and you can count on one hand the managers who never played pro ball. Still, though there would be challenges, I don’t doubt the right woman could do the job; there are female neurosurgeons and astrophysicists, and managing a baseball team ain’t that. But how a woman would even get herself in a position to be considered I honestly can’t see, at least at this point. As for general manager, though, there’s no reason I can think of why gender should matter a whit. Right now there’s a dearth of candidates, but Ng seems as qualified as many current GMs and more qualified than some.
There are far greater issues facing woman in America today, but any time someone wants to do a job they’re capable of but doesn’t get the chance, it’s a situation that should be rectified. Although she certainly seems qualified, I don’t know enough about Ng to say with any certainty whether she would be a good general manager. But it would be great if we got a chance to find out.