In an industry notoriously dominated by men, Kim Ng is breaking barriers and making headlines. Last November, Ng became the first woman General Manager in any of the four major men’s sports in the country and just the second Asian-American General Manager in Major League Baseball. While her hire has been long-awaited following decades of experience in the league, it marks a significant step towards a more diverse and inclusive environment in sports.
Kim Ng was born in 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Chinese-American parents. The eldest of five girls, she grew up in New York and New Jersey. She became exposed to sports at a young age thanks to her dad, a huge sports fan, and began by playing stickball with her friends in Queens as a child and cheering on the Yankees. Ng later dabbled in a few sports herself, but she ultimately stuck with softball throughout high school in Ridgewood, New Jersey and at the University of Chicago from 1986-1990. Majoring in public policy, she also wrote her senior thesis on Title IX.
Immediately after college, Ng joined the Chicago White Sox as an intern, but was hired for a full-time position by the next year. She became the assistant director of baseball operations by 1995, just 5 years after starting at the organization. A year later, Ng began as the director of waivers and records at the American League, but soon took on a new role with the New York Yankees. She worked as Assistant General Manager there from 1998-2001, and also earned three World Series rings in the process. She then moved to the Los Angeles Dodgers and was placed in charge of player development and scouting till 2011, during which they reached the National League Championship Series three times. After Dodgers manager Joe Torre moved to work for the MLB’s central office, he was so impressed by Ng that convinced her to join. She worked in New York for 10 years as the Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations. Despite years of interviews for the general manager position during these years, she was finally hired for the role at the Miami Marlins by former Yankees colleague and Hall-of-Famer Derek Jeter on November 13, 2020.
Throughout her career, colleagues noted her incredible talent in baseball operations. As a young professional with the New York Yankees, she took advantage of every opportunity, whether it be interacting with some of the best players in the game like Jeter, or expanding her knowledge of the game and scouting from directors. She has consistently been credited with great communication and ‘people’ skills -- Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer highlighted how she was consistently “the smartest person in the room and never had to make everybody feel that way.” She continuously worked her way up the ladder, and even if her position did not change, her responsibilities increased significantly. While working for the
Dodgers under GM Ned Colletti, her job expanded to include contract negotiation and taking the lead on some trades. Even after experiencing challenges with the hiring process for general manager despite having a remarkable resumé, Colletti said she seemed even more determined to get the role. Once Derek Jeter hired her, several of these former colleagues cited her as the most qualified first-time general manager they had seen.
For us in the TWN community, Kim Ng serves as a reminder that industries are constantly becoming more inclusive, and we can all pursue our dream careers regardless of existing stereotypes and biases. While there is still work to be done to make the workforce truly fair, Kim Ng shows that each of us have the opportunity to be a part of this change. In the words of legendary tennis player Billie Jean King, “Kim Ng being a GM of a major sports team is a strong indication that if you can see it, you can be it.”