USA – For all of its history, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has repeatedly ushered social change and reform through society’s turnstiles. It will continue that trend on Thursday, May 28th when Brockton Rox coach Justine Siegal officially becomes the first woman to coach a men’s professional baseball team.
Siegal was hired on May 4, 2009 as the final piece in Rox Manager Chris Carminucci’s coaching staff.
“It absolutely does not matter to me that she is a woman,” said Carminucci upon her hiring. “I needed to fill out my coaching staff; she came in for an interview and completely sold me on her abilities. I’m thrilled that we found her before someone else did, because she is a tremendous coach.”
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Justine is married and has an 11 year-old daughter who will travel with her throughout the season. Her baseball background includes coaching and playing on five continents, serving as an International Baseball Federation (IBAF) coach at the World Children’s Baseball Fair (2006, 07, 08), and speaking at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Founder of “BaseBall for All,” an organization that provides meaningful baseball instruction and opportunity for men and women around the world, Siegal has organized two girls and women’s baseball tournaments at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and coached more than half a dozen international girls baseball teams.
“What she has done with BaseBall for All is provide boys and girls of all ages the chance to experience their dreams of baseball success,” commented Rox GM Brian Voelkel. “In addition to what she will provide on the field, she is also going to teach us, as an organization, how to reach all kids who love the game of baseball.”
She is the only female with coaching experience at the collegiate level as well, serving as a coach for the Springfield College baseball team in Springfield, Massachusetts where she is simultaneously pursuing her PhD in Sports Psychology.
Rox owner Van Schley was enthusiastic about what it will mean when the first pitch is thrown in Thursday’s season opener for the Rox against the Sussex Skyhawks.
“The doctrine of professional baseball is going to undergo an alteration,” Schley said. “I’m proud of our organization for stepping up to the plate and hiring the right person for the job. Chris is really excited about what Justine will do for our club, and I stand behind him.”
Thursday night’s season opener begins at 7:05 PM at Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Massachusetts. For more information or for tickets, visit the Brockton Rox online at www.brocktonrox.com.
Photo courtesy of baseballglory.com