New York Yankees hires Rachel Balkovec – First female manager in MLB history

Rachel Balkovec, 34, was earlier a catcher for the softball teams at Creighton and the University of New Mexico.

New York Yankees' Rachel Balkovec
New York Yankees' Rachel Balkovec

Omaha native Rachel Balkove is set to make history this April as the first-ever female manager of a MiLB ballclub. She’ll be managing Tampa Tarpons, the Low-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, where Balkove has been the hitting coach since 2019.

The 34-year-old began her pro baseball career as a strength and conditioning coach with a St. Louis Cardinals minor-league affiliate back in 2012. Later, she went on to become the Houston Astros’ Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator, also earmarking the first woman to hold this position.

Rachel, who did a fellowship with Driveline Baseball, has also been associated with the Double-A Corpus Christi Hook.

“Had to do probably much more than maybe a male counterpart”

Soon after Rachel came across this delightful news, her initial response was, “Did I earn this? Why?”

“I started thinking about my journey,” Balkovec said. “I’ve been in the game for more than 10 years, so this is something that’s been a long time coming. My first reaction was to make sure that this is something I have earned and that I’m getting it for the right reasons, not maybe just because of my gender.”

“My mom always used to say, life’s not fair,” she said after signing her first contract with the Yankees. “So is it fair? No. Does it matter? No. You have to keep standing at that door banging on it … I had to do probably much more than maybe a male counterpart, but I like that because I’m so much more prepared for the challenges that I might encounter.”

“2020 was tough on everyone in many different ways,” Balkovec said. “But just like every other time in my life, I just kind of looked at the year and said, ‘How can I maximize this year personally, professionally, mentally, physically — all of it?’ You have to lean on it and find the opportunity within the darkness.’”

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