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JULIAN McWILLIAMS

Raquel Ferreira of the Red Sox among those overjoyed by Kim Ng’s hire as Marlins GM

Kim Ng, for decades considered a possible candidate for the first woman to become a general manager of a big-four team, finally received her chance on Friday from the Miami Marlins.John Raoux/AP/file

Red Sox executive vice president and assistant general manager Raquel Ferreira couldn’t contain her joy early Friday morning.

When Kim Ng was named the Miami Marlins' general manager, making her the first woman to run a baseball operations department, there was a sense of elation. That elation was a shared experience not just across the baseball world, but society.

For Ferreira, that happiness was even more profound. A bit more of a personal feeling, one that resonated.

So, a text exchange between her and Jean Afterman, the New York Yankees' assistant general manager and senior vice president, ensued. Those two are trailblazers in a sport that lacks female representation.

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“I think it’s awesome,” Ferreira said by phone Friday evening. “I couldn’t be happier for her. It’s a great day, not just for MLB, but sports in general.”

Ferreira has more than 20 years of experience in baseball. She is just the fourth woman to hold the title of assistant general manager in an organization. Ferreira, a woman of color and daughter and granddaughter of Cape Verdean immigrants, knows how imperative it is for young girls who aspire to work in baseball to see women who look like them in high-ranking positions. Ng, an Asian-American with more than 30 years of baseball experience, embodies that representation.

“It’s such an example to girls and young women who aspire to have a career in baseball,” Ferreira said. “And now they can see themselves doing that. Just like with [vice president-elect] Kamala Harris there’s nothing more powerful than when you see it. When you see it, you can believe it or dream it. A lot of times when you don’t see anyone who looks like you or represents you, you can’t fathom doing something.”

According to the Marlins, Ng is believed to be the first woman hired to the general manager position by any of the professional men’s sports teams in North America. She began with the White Sox (1990-96). She then became the Yankees' assistant general manager (1998-2001), the second woman to hold that role, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers' vice president and assistant general manager (2002-11) before taking a job as senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball.

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Now, she’s a general manager.

“After decades of determination, it is the honor of my career to lead the Miami Marlins,” Ng said in a statement. “When I got into this business, it seemed unlikely a woman would lead a major league team, but I am dogged in the pursuit of my goals. My goal is now to bring championship baseball to Miami.”

Marlins CEO Derek Jeter played for the Yankees when Ng became baseball’s youngest assistant general manager, at 29, with New York. She was only the second woman to attain that position with a major league club.

“We look forward to Kim bringing a wealth of knowledge and championship-level experience to the Miami Marlins,” Jeter said in a statement. “Her leadership of our baseball operations team will play a major role on our path toward sustained success. Additionally, her extensive work in expanding youth baseball and softball initiatives will enhance our efforts to grow the game among our local youth as we continue to make a positive impact on the South Florida community.”

Jeter became baseball’s first Black CEO after his group bought the Marlins in 2017. He then hired Caroline O’Connor, who as senior vice president is one of the highest-ranking women in professional sports.

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Ng becomes the fifth person to hold the Marlins' top position in baseball operations and succeeds Michael Hill, who was not retained after the 2020 season. A virtual news conference for Ng is planned for Monday.

“All of us at Major League Baseball are thrilled for Kim and the opportunity she has earned with the Marlins,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Kim’s appointment makes history in all of professional sports and sets a significant example for the millions of women and girls who love baseball and softball. The hard work, leadership, and record of achievement throughout her long career in the national pastime led to this outcome.”

The Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores, one of four head coaches of color in the NFL, was among those to applaud Ng’s hiring.

“It’s phenomenal,” Flores said. “Anyone who thinks a woman can’t manage or coach or lead, I think, is silly. Kudos to the Marlins.”

Friday, perhaps, marked long overdue progress for women in sports. But like with any underrepresented group, the hope is that she’s not the only one to claim such a high-ranking position. The push for diversity and inclusion isn’t just a seat reserved for one. While Ng broke down a huge barrier, the onus for more women — and women of color — in male-dominated spaces shouldn’t fall on Ng’s shoulders.

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“That’s going to be up to clubs and MLB to do that,” Ferreira explained. “And I hope that this is a step in the right direction because there have been so many groups of women, of people of color who have been underrepresented in MLB and sports in general. I think that all people need is an opportunity and we, as clubs and MLB, need to do a better job at creating opportunities for people.”

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.