Open Mic: The Amazing Kim Ng
In 2005, Major League Baseball commissioned a survey to ascertain the level of minority involvement in America's game. The results caused no small amount of consternation from many places.
Gary Shefield's comments about the controllability of African-American players versus Latino players was the most publicized reaction, but it was by no means the only one.
Many people felt that the results indicated a fundamental failure of Major League Baseball to ensure that the game was being adequately marketed to all sectors of American society, but, in reality, the part of the report concerning players, coaches, managers, and in the MLB central office, yielded a grade of A.
The most homogeneous group were the general managers, which received a D grade. In other words, the only older and whiter place than a general manager's office is the Oval Office.
All in all, Major League Baseball did OK in finding minority representation, assuming the category is race; gender is a different subject entirely.
The highest grade received for any sector of Major League Baseball where gender is a viable distinction (read: not players) was a C. The most frequent grade was an F.
Perhaps that is what makes Dodgers assistant GM and team VP Kim Ng so remarkable. She is one of just two women to hold the position of assistant GM, and was the first woman to ever interview for a general manager position when the Dodgers' vacancy opened up in 2005.
Ms. Ng will almost certainly be the first woman to be a full GM, as her name has already been mentioned in connection with the open Mariners position, among others.
She was the youngest assistant GM ever when she joined the Yankees in 1998, and she helped the team to three straight World Series titles. She then left in 2001 to join the Dodgers. The Yankees haven't won a title since, while the Dodgers have experienced a resurgence.
In 2006, the Dodgers were named organization of the year under the leadership of GM Ned Colleti and Kim Ng, and there is little doubt that the core they constructed around players like Matt Kemp, Andre Eithier, Russel Martin, and Clayton Kershaw will make the Dodgers a force in the NL West for years to come.
Kim Ng is exceptionally good at her job, and someday soon she will be an exceptionally good GM, of that, there is little doubt.
That she will be the first woman to do it is almost a footnote, except that it makes her rise all the more remarkable. She has almost single handedly reversed the trend of fewer women in high management, so she definitely deserves the title of Mover and Shaker in Major League Baseball.
* The 2005 Racial and Gender Report Card. Major League Baseball was used heavily in this article. A copy of it can be found here.
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