Justine Siegal made history on Tuesday when the Oakland A's announced it has hired her to serve as a guest instructor for the 2015 Instructional League season.
From this Sunday until Oct. 17, Siegal, 40, will assist with player development staff at the A's practice facilities in Mesa, Arizona.
"I feel qualified for this job. I have a lot to learn, but I feel I've worked my way up the ranks. I can't stress enough how thankful I am for the opportunity," she told MLB.com on Tuesday.
Siegal has extensive experience working in men's professional baseball. In the spring of 2011, she threw batting practice for the A's, Indians, Rays, Cardinals, Astros and Mets. Before her first MLB stint, she coached first base in 2009 for the minor league team Brockton Rox, which made her the first female coach to work for a men's professional baseball team.
Siegal will work with infielders, throw batting practice and will lead classroom presentations on the mental side of baseball, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. She holds a Ph.D. in sport and exercise psychology from Springfield College and is the president of Baseball For All, a nonprofit that works to provide baseball coaching to young children, especially to girls.
Given her qualifications, the A's are bullish about the variety of ways Siegal can impact their organization.
"We feel like Justine has a lot to offer and that [the Instructional League] is a great place to get her feet wet,” A’s assistant general manager David Forst said to the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday. “She’ll be doing a little bit of everything.”
In a tweet on Monday prior to the announcement, Siegal seemed to downplay the historical significant of her achievement, instead emphasizing the important message her role sends to young girls within the sport.
"Every step I made, I knew that there was a teenage kid behind me looking to see if this was possible, and so I was very careful with how I reacted to everything," she said to CNN in August. "I knew my mission was bigger than just me."
Siegal's hiring follows the likes of San Antonio Spurs coach Becky Hammon and former Arizona Cardinals coach Jen Welter, who each became the first female coaches in their respective leagues last summer. Shortly after the A's announced Siegal's hiring, Welter tweeted well-wishes to her on Tuesday night:
Baseball for all, truly.
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