A Day for Her-story
April 12th, 2022, a day that has made a place in sport history next to Jackie Robinson, the 1980 USA Hockey team and Kobe Bryant. One that some people never thought they’d see and others who thought it would have happened sooner. Alyssa Nakken became the first woman to be drafted onto a baseball field with Major League Baseball.
In 2014, the San Francisco Giants hired the recent college graduate and All-County Softball Conference member as one of their health and wellness program members. Since then, she has continued to be a woman of firsts. In 2020, she was promoted by the Giants to a head coach and became the first in MLB history. Later that year, she was the first woman to be on field at a major league baseball game as the Giants first base coach during a pre-season exhibition game. On that day, she not only was the coach, she also is the first person in MLB history to don the number 92 jersey- that jersey is now hanging in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now in 2022, in the mist of so many other accomplishments from other athletes, organizations and leaders in their field, Nakken did it once more when she stepped onto her field.
On the night of April 12th, it was the third inning and Giant’s first base coach Antoan Richardson was ejected and the team had a position to be filled. Without a second thought, she walked the 15 feet to the coach’s box and stepped into history yet again. She said in an interview with Bill Francis in 2020 that “This is for all of the women in baseball and for all of the women who wanted to get in baseball and had the door shut in their face simply because of their gender”. There is a preconceived notion that women do not belong in the sporting industry, especially not in any head coaching position. Girls are told that they need to have lady-like jobs, be a good wife and mother, and do as they are told, but today more than ever, women are taking a stand.
On that monumental night, the world took notice of Alyssa Nakken: the standing ovation from the Oakland crowd, the handshake from the A’s first base runner and being the center of attention on social media. "Coaching, I never saw it. This job has kind of been hidden for so long. I'm so excited to be in this role for the challenge and the opportunity to make an impact for this organization that I love. But also, I'm excited that now girls can see there is a job on the field in baseball. It's really cool." Nakken said in a post-game interview. She now joins Rachel Balkovec, Bianca Smith, Caitlyn Callahan, Ronnie Gajownik, Veronica Alvarez, Jaime Vieira, Katie Krall, Caitlyn Callahan, and Gretchen Aucoin on the list of women who made monumental accomplishment in the MLB and the coaching personnel.
Every year, we hope that accessibility and opportunities for women in sports will be there without the struggle that we continue to see. Every year, we see women make advancements in their fields and the world is amazed, but slowly it fades from the media, and we await the next groundbreaking achievement of the next female in sports. The women in these positions have one hope that keeps pushing them towards these feats. The hope is one day, it is no longer a historic accomplishment, that it is something we see every day. But until that day comes, they will continue to be role models, inspirations, and heroes for young girls and boys everywhere.