MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When the Miami Marlins announced Kim Ng, 52, as their new general manager last November, it wasn’t just big news here in South Florida.
Ng made history as the first woman to be GM in Major League Baseball and any major North American men’s sports team.
She was also the first East Asian American GM.
Ng has more than 3 decades of experience, having started as an intern with the Chicago White Sox. She also worked with the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and most recently the MLB Commissioner’s Office.
She has 8 post-season appearances, 6 League Championship Series, and 3 World Series Championships under her belt, bringing an impressive resume to the Marlins.
Ng grew up a sports fan and played softball, but it’s not something her mother wanted for her professionally.
“Total Tiger mom,” said Ng.
“She did not want me to go into sports. When I told her I was taking an internship with the Chicago White Sox, she was not happy.”
Ng added that her mother would send her articles weekly on other careers, trying to convince her to go a different route.
The oldest of five girls, Ng grew up surrounded by women at home, but at work, she was surrounded by men, but that is changing.
“My name has been mentioned out there for a long time, [but] it’s so awesome for me to see other women coming through the ranks, making history themselves.”
It’s still something Ng is getting used to. Just a few weeks ago, Marlins manager Don Mattingly asked her to come down to the clubhouse.
“I said you know, I just wanna give the guy some time, settle, in not scare them with a woman down there,” said Ng.
Mattingly reminded Ng of other women who were around the team, from strength trainers to coaches.
“I forgot. I’m always used to being the first in that situation so here they are paving the way for me, so that was definitely an aha! moment” said Ng.
“That we have come so far, not far enough though.”
Coming so far for Ang took quite some time. She interviewed for GM jobs at least 10 times since she was first considered with the LA Dodgers. That was sixteen years ago in 2005.
She was told no, no, and no time and time again.
How did she not give up?
“I’ve been asked this a number of times and my answer gets more clear,” said Ng.
“Each time I was told no I thought about giving up because you put yourself through so much. It’s a very public process.”
However, Ng said every time she almost gave up, she comes back.
“That’s not really an option. So I get back in the saddle,” said Ng. “I don’t separate myself from the fact in that I was incredibly fortunate to have gotten that many interviews, you know?”
On top of the gender glass ceiling that Ng shattered, she also proudly represents the Asian American & Pacific Islander community.
“I think the AAPI community, It’s a fairly tight-knit group. We’re obviously obvious to each other. Throughout, I’ve always felt their support. I hope they see me as someone who represents them well, and who has worked hard as many of us have.”
Ng has said her goal is to bring championship baseball to Miami, but her legacy will leave a mark well beyond the baseball field.
“For me, it’s about having helped to move the needle in a meaningful way for women and equality in the workforce,” said Ng.
While everyone from Michelle Obama to Ng’s own childhood role model Billie Jean King has congratulated her on her historic accomplishment, leave it to mom to keep you humble.
“To show you how much of a Tiger mom my mom is when I told her I thought she’d cry, she would be so excited, she pulled her mask down and looked at me and got real stern and said ‘Long overdue,’” Kim said with a laugh.
Ng hasn’t had a chance to fully experience Miami yet, because of COVID-19, but she said she is excited to get to know the community and all it has to offer, specifically the food and the art scene.
Has she had cafecito yet?
“I was up until three in the morning,” Kim joked.