The San Francisco Giants announced Thursday that the team has completed its coaching staff for the upcoming season with a historic hire: the first woman to be a full-time coach in Major League Baseball history.
The Giants hired Alyssa Nakken and Mark Hallberg as assistant coaches under manager Gabe Kapler.
“Alyssa and Mark are highly respected members of the organization and I’m delighted that they will now focus their talents on helping to build a winning culture in the clubhouse,” Kapler said in a statement. He added that the two new hires will ”[promote] high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration,” in addition to assisting the rest of the coaches on the field.
Nakken was a four-time Academic All American softball player for Sacramento State University. She joined the Giants in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department, and currently chairs the team’s first Employee Resource Group.
The MLB, which has historically been dominated by male staff, is slowly starting to hire more women. In 2011, Justine Siegal was the first woman to throw batting practice for a major league team when she pitched during the Cleveland Indians’ spring training. Then, when the Oakland A’s hired Siegal in 2015 as a guest coach for the club’s instructional league team in Arizona, she became the first female coach for an MLB team.
The New York Mets hired ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza in March 2019 as baseball operations adviser working on player evaluation. The New York Yankees hired Rachel Balkovec in November 2019 as a minor league hitting coach, which made her the first female full-time hitting coach employed by an MLB team. The Chicago Cubs soon after signed Rachel Folden as lead hitting lab tech and fourth coach for their Rookie League team in Arizona.