SF Giants coach Alyssa Naken is making history as the first female coach in the MLB>
MLB history has already been made several times during the unique 2020 MLB season. Not only are we in the midst of a historic 60-game schedule, but we also have a DH in the National League for the first time.
However, there was another MLB first that occurred in the Bay Area during the opening series of the season. The SF Giants became the first major league franchise to have a female, on-field coach during a game — Alyssa Nakken
Nakken added a new page to MLB record books when she took the field during the Giants’ opening series against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. It was such a momentous occasion that her jersey was donated to the MLB Hall of Fame.
Nakken’s lifelong background in the sport allowed her to rise through the ranks and earn an on-field position at just 30-years-old. The California native played high school softball in-state, before attending California State University in Sacramento.
There, she excelled as the team’s starting first baseman. She compiled a collegiate hitting average of .304 and earned honors as a member of the Pacific Coast Softball Conference All-Star team in each of her four years on the team.
She was also a three-time All-Conference selection and the 2012 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
The college star began her path in MLB as an intern with the Giants organization in 2014. Her bachelor’s degree in psychology and masters in sports management allowed her to assume more responsibilities, eventually becoming a key part of the team’s health programs.
She was promoted to the role of assistant coach in January of 2020, which made her the first full-time female to hold such a position in the history of the league.
The Future with the SF Giants and beyond
Nakken’s incredible accomplishments signal two things. First, it gives the Giants an exciting, up-and-coming, young member of the coaching staff.
It will be interesting to follow her career path as she continues to work her way up the coaching ladder during the coming seasons. The work ethic and expertise displayed during her six years with the franchise indicate that the sky is the limit for her potential.
Secondly, it marks a major barrier bring torn down for future MLB coaches. I want to avoid making too big a deal of Nakken’s gender. Doing so feels like a slight to her skill set.
She is a qualified and competent coach regardless of gender. However, the fact that she is the first female to achieve these heights opens the door for other franchises to follow suit.
I, like most baseball fans, desire to see the sport thrive, and the level of play reach its highest possible point.
Adding more diversity to coaching staffs and front offices will undoubtedly be a major benefit to the league as a whole.