Kim Ng hopes the path she’s blazing will be followed by others behind her.
Ng (pronounced ANG) made history last November when she became the first female and first Asian American to be named the general manager of a Major League Baseball franchise after landing the job with the Miami Marlins. She's also the first female to be a GM in any of the four major North American sports.
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The New York City native says she never thought about giving up, even though there were times she was disrespected in moments when she may not have been allowed in a clubhouse, despite having the credentials letting her be there.
“I just never saw it as there was any other choice,” she told Hoda Kotb Monday on TODAY. "You want what you want. You know you're good. Why would I do anything else?"
Ng, 52, may be the ideal person to meet this moment, pointing to her childhood, when she was "a little bit of a rule-breaker.”
“I just didn't take any guff and it was not, ‘You can't play with them because girls don't do that.’ It was, 'I don't care.’ And you’re just like, ‘Alright, choose sides, let's go,’” she said.
Ng is well traveled in baseball circles, having worked for the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and the commissioner’s office for Major League Baseball in a career that dates back to 1990. Despite the lengthy resume, she thinks she was held back from moving up in the baseball world because of who she was.
“Did you not get jobs because you're a woman?” Hoda asked her.
“It's hard to say, but I would suspect yes,” Ng said.
Marlins CEO and former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter decided to take a swing and hire Ng, who felt he was the logical person to take such a bold step.
“When it happened, I thought to myself, ‘It took a player to do this.' It took that kind of courage to do this and this was the guy” she said.
Jeter, a Hall of Famer who played in New York during Ng’s tenure there, said she was the obvious choice for the job.
“When we decided to make a change, Kim was the first person I called, and she's the only person I called,” he told Hoda.
Ng’s husband, Tony, was home when she was offered the job.
“He was listening outside the door,” she said with a laugh. “When I opened up the door he was sitting on the stairs. And it hit me again. You know, and he just looked at me and he nodded.”
Ng’s mother, who was not pleased her daughter took an unpaid internship with White Sox way back when, also thought it was high time her daughter was recognized.
“She's so funny," Ng said. "She didn't jump up and scream. She just pulled down her mask, and she looked at me. And she said, ‘Long overdue.’ Tiger mom. Tiger mom.”
Ng now has a coveted job running one of only 30 Major League teams and feels the pressure that comes with it.
“I do. I'm not sure if we don't win a World Series that my career will have been a failure, that this would have been the failed experiment. I don't think that at all," she said. "But, you know, I do have to do well. That I know.”
Ng also remains optimistic she will be the first of many women to serve in the front office of a major league team.
“And hopefully I won't be the last,” she said. “I won't be the last. I won't.”