Every year, baseball reminds us that it has retired the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, except for the one day of the year when everyone dons the number on their backs. Since we were little kids, we all learned about how Robinson would be forever known as the baseball player that broke the color barrier.
However, in a day and age where we (for the most part) look past superficial differences and don't bat an eye when any non-white athlete becomes famous, we also forget that many barriers still exist. We live in a country that is 5% Asian, but only 2% of MLB players are Asian and only 3% of MLB Front Office Employees are Asian. And sadly, this is relatively good, compared to the other big sports. Even then, only three GM's - two latino and one African-American were non-white.
In addition, only 30% of the front office members are women. Despite this relatively low percentage, no female has ever been the GM of an MLB team.
Which is why the San Diego Padres have an opportunity to do something different.
Candidate A for the San Diego Padres' GM position has the following qualifications and past experiences at impressive positions:
- Age: 46
- Became intern with Chicago White Sox right out of college after graduating from the University of Chicago.
- Began baseball journey officially as a special projects analyst for the Chicago White Sox.
- Youngest person and first female to present an arbitration case.
- Was youngest Assistant GM in MLB when hired at age of 29 (New York Yankees)
- Assistant GM for LA Dodgers since 2001, surviving an ownership change, unlike the fates of Danny Evans and Moneyball's Paul DePodesta.
- Currently serving as MLB Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations
Most people don't even have 2 of these qualifications, but Kim Ng has all of them.
Kim Ng, born in Indiana to parents of Chinese descent, is one of the candidates for the Padres' GM job, and after the firing of Josh Byrnes, we could see some history happen. Ng is described as a consummate professional that always took care of business whenever anything needed to get done. Even despite adversity, both implicit and blatant - from a Yahoo! Sports article from 2008, writer Tim Brown described an episode where:
[Mets special assistant Bill Singer] asked her who she was. He asked her why she was there. He asked her
about her heritage. Ng, recognizing the situation as potentially
flammable, patiently answered his questions. He then mocked her in
gibberish-speak that was supposed to approximate Chinese.
Maybe there's hope for some "change-up" in the all-male MLB GM group.
*Side Note - some netizen remarked that she'd also be the first MLB GM without a vowel in her last name. Surely someone will say this is a race-driven remark in regards to a unique last name, but others will also say that it sheds light on something that isn't related to a gender/race thing.