Oakland A’s coaching staff member Justine Siegal was on Monday named “Female Groundbreaker” by the Steve Harvey show. Siegal received the honor — one of many she has recently been given — due to her trailblazing professional career as the first woman to coach for a Major League Baseball team.
Though Siegal’s stint as a guest coach for the 2015 Instructional League was only for a two-week period in October, it cemented her place in sports history and is often credited with opening the door for other women in a notoriously male-dominated industry.
During the show, Harvey was quick to list off a slew of achievements that Siegal has been able to accomplish. But, as she told the comedian, she had to hurtle many obstacles to get where she is today.
“It’s been a really hard road. I’ve been told ‘no’ so many times,” Siegal said. “…When I was 13, that was the first time I had heard from a coach ‘you’re a girl. We don’t want you on the team. You should play softball.’ And I just decided I would never quit.”
In 2002, Siegal was credited with forming the Sparks, the first all-girl team that when on to compete in a national baseball tournament. In 2011, she became the first woman to throw batting practice for a major league team.
“When I was 16, and I wanted to become a coach, I told another coach and he laughed at me," Siegal recounted on Monday's show. “He said a man will never listen to a woman on a baseball field. And I’m proof: A man will listen to you when you know what you’re talking about.”
Siegal, who has advocated for gender equity in sports, holds a M.A in sport studies from Kent State University in Ohio and a Ph.D in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
— Justine Siegal (@justinebaseball) January 11, 2016