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Oakland Athletics hires MLB’s first female coach

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The Oakland Athletics, revered as one of baseball’s most progressive organizations, became the first major league team to hire a female coach on Tuesday.

The team announced that 40-year-old Justine Siegal will join the coaching staff for their Instructional League team in October. Siegal has a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College, where she also served as an assistant from 2008 to 2010, and an M.A. in sports studies from Kent State University.

Breaking barriers in baseball is nothing new to Siegal. She was the first woman to throw batting practice to major league teams as well as the first woman to coach professional baseball when she did so for the independent Brockton Rox in 2009.

Her qualifications for the job are evident, and Oakland is eager for her arrival, as reported by MLB.com’s Alyson Footer.

“We’re thrilled that Justine will be joining us for Instructional League,” said Oakland’s assistant general manager David Forst. “She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise from years of playing, coaching and teaching the game, and all of our young players stand to benefit greatly from her time in camp.”

Siegal feels confident in her ability to coach in a male dominated arena as well, per San Jose Mercury News.

“I’m really honored by this,” Siegal said. “Beane was the first to say yes to me throwing batting practice, and I’m honored the A’s will go out on a limb. I do feel qualified.”

Her reach in the game of baseball has already been far extended, and she has been a leader in sports equality in recent years. As the founder of Baseball For All, Siegal runs a nonprofit organization with an ambitious mission statement.

“Baseball For All empowers, educates, instills leadership and creates opportunities for girls to play baseball. We empower others to begin or extend their baseball programs to girls around the world.”

Siegal is now the third woman to make headlines for her involvement with major sports organizations in the past year. Becky Hammon was a full time assistant for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs last season, and Jen Welter served as an assistant coaching intern for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals during this season’s training camp.

Her determination to fill historically male roles in sports has been fueled for many years by the doubts of others, according to Footer.

“I was 16 when I told my coach I wanted to be a college baseball coach,” Siegal said. “He laughed at me and said a man would never listen to a woman on a baseball field. That’s when I decided I was going to get a Ph.D., prove them wrong.”

Siegal not only fulfilled her dreams of coaching college baseball, but she has joined the professional and now major league ranks as well.

Mark Peless, Multimedia Editor

Mark is the multimedia editor of Chimes for the 2017-2018 academic year. He is a senior from all over Grand Rapids, and graduated from The Potter’s House...

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