The New York Yankees introduced their new manager for the Single-A Tampa Tarpons, Rachel Balkovec, who broke a glass ceiling by becoming the first female manager in professional baseball.

The 34-year old who served as the first female minor league strength and conditioning coach with the St. Louis Cardinals and Houston Astros organizations, and, later became the first female hitting coach in the Yankees organization, is used to breaking the glass ceiling, and relishes being that kind of trailblazer.

“I want to be a visible idea for young women. I want to be a visible idea for dads who have daughters. I want to be out there,” Balkovec said during a zoom conference with reporters. “I don’t understand the negativity, if you know my story it’s hard to not get behind what is going on here. I think everyone can enjoy my story.”

 

Asked about what challenges she expects becoming the first woman to run a clubhouse of 20-plus men, Balkovec added, “Players I worked with, whether they like me, don’t like me. Like what I am saying; don’t like what I am saying, I do feel like they respect me.

“My goal is to know the families of all the players, develop them as young players and people who have immense pressure on them.  I want to be a supporter and facilitate an environment where they can be successful.”

General Manager Brian Cashman was effusive in his praise of Balkovec, and her potential in the game. Cashman is no stranger to seeing women rise to prominent roles in baseball. He hired Kim Ng back in 1998 to be his assistant general manager. She is now the general manager of the Miami Marlins.

Balkovec isn’t the only woman in baseball dugout either, San Francisco’s  Alyssa Nakken has been on the staff as a hitting instructor and first base coach since 2020. So Cashman knows the impact of Balkovec’s promotion to manager is going to have historic implications.

“The skies the limit,” he said.  “(Rachel) is determined, has perseverance, has a plan what she wants to do in the present and in the future. I would not put any limitations to what she can accomplish. She has created an explosion of notoriety. She should be proud to be a trailblazer and creating hope that it can be done and is being done.”

Watch the full press conference here: