When the news broke Friday morning that the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as the first female general manager in baseball history, Corinne Landrey heard from friends and family. As a woman who works in the Phillies' front office, she felt a surge of excitement and optimism.
Mostly, though, Landrey’s in-the-moment reaction was one that Ng – and glass-ceiling-breakers in every American industry – would have seconded.
“It was exciting, but it was also during the middle of the work day,” Landrey said by phone Saturday. “So I was spending time thinking about how to beat Kim.”
Ng, 51, is eminently qualified, even overqualified, to lead the Marlins' baseball operations. In a 30-year career, she has been an assistant general manager with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, and worked for Major League Baseball. She’s respected throughout the game by road-warrior scouts and whiz-kid quants alike.
Longtime Phillies shortstop and former manager Larry Bowa was a Dodgers coach when Ng worked in Los Angeles. He called her “one of the smartest baseball minds I’ve worked with,” and tweeted that she “will be a tremendous asset to [the Marlins] organization.”
Indeed, if Ng’s hiring by the Marlins ranked as a surprise, it was only because of her gender and the handful of GM openings for which she was considered but not hired over the last few years.
Landrey, 34, just completed her fourth season with the Phillies. She has risen from an analytics intern to manager of baseball operations, a position that involves analyzing players, assisting in salary arbitration cases, and working with the research-and-development team.
And while Landrey knows Ng only by her sterling reputation, she nevertheless has a deep-rooted understanding of the under-representation of women in baseball.
In 2016, before she began working for the Phillies, Landrey authored “When the Sport You Love Doesn’t Love You Back,” an essay for The Hardball Times that explored systemic, if casual, sexism in baseball, and criticized MLB for insufficient outreach to women.
“It’s definitely a reason to feel optimistic that we’re getting there.”
“As a girl growing up who loved baseball, it never occurred to me that working in baseball was a possibility,” said Landrey, a music education major at Ithaca College and former high school band teacher. “It had to be put directly in front of my face before I considered a career in baseball.
"Now, seeing something like this that’s so visible and impactful, it is directly in front of people’s faces, and it absolutely will have an impact on people seeing that as a potential future.”
Landrey has seen greater opportunity for women in only the last four years. She’s among a handful of women who worked in the team’s baseball operations this past season, joining player development coordinator Dana Parks, quantitative analysts Hannah Gaudet and Kiri Oler, mental skills coach Hannah Huesman, and others.
But as a general manager, Ng will become the highest-ranking and most public-facing woman in the sport. Jean Afterman and Raquel Ferreira are longtime executives with the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, respectively, and have risen to the level of assistant GM. Within the last year, the San Francisco Giants (Alyssa Nakken), Yankees (Rachel Balkovec), and Chicago Cubs (Rachel Folden) hired female coaches.
Perhaps, then, this generation of girls will be drawn to baseball in a way that even Landrey’s never was.
“That’s the eventual hope,” Landrey said. “I think [Ng] is an example that that’s not how it’s worked in the game. She’s been kind of on the cusp of this for nearly 20 years, and the fact that it took this long for her to get that chance makes you question whether or not we’ve gotten to that point yet. But it’s definitely a reason to feel optimistic that we’re getting there."