Waldron: 2015 will be remembered as a historic year for women in baseball

From Travis Waldron at the Huffington Post on December 1, 2015, with mention of SABR member Justine Siegal:

This fall, as Becky Hammon prepared for her second season as an assistant coach with the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and the Arizona Cardinals made Jen Welter the first woman to coach for an NFL team, it seemed like Major League Baseball had fallen behind its two largest competitors in welcoming women to the coaching ranks.

The league has become more conscious of diversity on all fronts — the possibility that it might enter the 2016 season without an African-American coach sounded alarm bells before the hiring of Dusty Baker in Washington and, this week, Dave Roberts in Los Angeles. So there was no question that Major League Baseball was trying to expand roles for women, too, the president of Minor League Baseball told The Huffington Post in September.

“Somewhere, somebody is trying to figure out how we’re going to get the first female [general manager], the first female coach,” Pat O’Conner said at the time. “I can tell you it’s a priority — diversity from all angles.”

Still, there wasn’t much optimism — from O’Conner or others who had tracked the history of women in baseball — that change would happen soon.

But a few weeks later, the moment came: The Oakland A’s hired Justine Siegal, a former collegiate and independent league coach, to work the fall instructional league in Arizona. Siegal was the first woman ever hired to coach for an MLB franchise, and even if it was only for the short fall season, which gives minor leaguers a chance to put in extra work before the winter, it was progress.

“This has been a wonderful moment and a long-deserved moment in history when women are getting their chance to coach in professional sports,” Siegal told HuffPost this week. “I think the American consciousness is ready for more females in positions of sports leadership.”

Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/justine-siegal-major-league-baseball_56549120e4b0879a5b0c7c25

Originally published: December 2, 2015. Last Updated: December 2, 2015.