By KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — The Miami Marlins made a historic change to the lineup in their front office.
Kim Ng joined ABC News’ Good Morning America Monday after being named general manager of the Marlins on Friday, becoming the first female and first Asian American general manager in the sport’s history.
“It really was just so unbelievable. It actually took a couple seconds for it to soak in,” Ng recalled of the moment she got the job. “Generally, I play things fairly close to the vest and Derek Jeter, who told me, basically said, ‘You’re not even going to smile?’ So it was quite a moment. And — honestly it was a relief and it felt like a 10,000[-pound] weight had been lifted off my shoulder.”
Ng said she had a socially distanced gathering with her mom and four sisters the day after she got the exciting news.
“I said to them, ‘Well, I’m moving to Miami.’ And they looked at me just completely befuddled and said, ‘Why? What’s going on?’ And I said, ‘Well, there’s a former shortstop I used to know who’s hired me to be the next general manager.’ And they started screaming, of course,” Ng said of the big moment.
“It was hard because my mom, I couldn’t hug her at this time but she, of course, got very emotional and all of us did. It was great,” she added.
Ng has a winning record with the Marlins CEO and former Yankees great who played for the team when she was with the New York organization.
“On behalf of principal owner Bruce Sherman and our entire ownership group, we look forward to Kim bringing a wealth of knowledge and championship-level experience to the Miami Marlins,” Jeter said in a statement. “Her leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success. Additionally, her extensive work in expanding youth baseball and softball initiatives will enhance our efforts to grow the game among our local youth as we continue to make a positive impact on the South Florida community.”
In their time together with the New York Yankees, Ng and Jeter notched three World Series wins, in 1998, 1999 and 2000.
With more than 30 years of experience in the sport, Ng has previously been with the Chicago White Sox, Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and most recently spent the last nine years in the MLB commissioner’s office. Ng was long rumored to be a prime candidate to become the first female GM in the sport.
“I’ve interviewed numerous times for this position. I think after, you know, maybe a handful, you start thinking, well, maybe this isn’t going to happen,” she said. “That belief persisted for quite some time until, you know, obviously a week ago or several days ago when this happened.”
“It was a difficult time. You know, you question your ability. You question everything you’ve worked hard for. But in the end, you know, you got a great ending,” Ng said. “It’s about hard work and perseverance and still remaining confident in yourself.”
She continued, “one of the biggest things [is] that you can’t just quit on yourself.”
Ng also said that it’s up to leaders of organizations to promote these big changes, offering Jeter as an example “in terms of what he did and his groundbreaking move and they should try to be fearless.”
When the news was first announced Friday, the longtime baseball executive said in a statement, “I entered Major League Baseball as an intern and, after decades of determination, it is the honor of my career to lead the Miami Marlins as their next General Manager.”
“We are building for the long term in South Florida, developing a forward-thinking, collaborative, creative baseball operation made up of incredibly talented and dedicated staff who have, over the last few years, laid a great foundation for success,” she continued. “This challenge is one I don’t take lightly. When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a Major League team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals.”
She is also believed to be the first woman hired to the general manager position by any of the professional men’s sports teams in the North American Major Leagues, the organization said in a press release.
“My goal is now to bring championship baseball to Miami. I am both humbled and eager to continue building the winning culture our fans respect and deserve,” Ng said.
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