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SF Giants Hire First Woman Coach in MLB History

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Major League Baseball has its first female coach.

The San Francisco Giants hired Alyssa Nakken to the coaching staff on Thursday. Nakken will serve as an assistant coach to manager Gabe Kapler, making her the first woman to coach at the major league level.

The Giants announced the hiring of Nakken and Mark Hallberg, who managed Class A Salem-Keizer last year, in a joint release.

“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. “In every organization, environment affects performance, and baseball clubhouses are no different. That’s why in addition to assisting the rest of the coaching staff on the field, Mark and Alyssa will focus on fostering a clubhouse culture that promotes high performance through, among other attributes, a deep sense of collaboration and team.”

Nakken, 29, was a three-time All-American on the Sacramento State softball team from 2009-2012.

"This is a historic moment for the San Francisco Giants baseball organization, women in sports, and the Sacramento State softball program," Kathy Strahan, who was Nakken’s college coach,, said in a Sacramento State press release. "I am very proud of Alyssa. As her coach, I knew early that she would blaze new trails and do something ground breaking. Her positive energy, intellect and tremendous drive to succeed will be an invaluable asset to the Giants players and organization. I believe this incredible journey is just the beginning and I know that she will enjoy the ride."

Nakken earned a master’s degree in sport management from the University of San Francisco, and joined the Giants organization in 2014 as an intern in the baseball operations department. Nakken has worked on projects relating to the draft, international operations and player development, while her most recent role was overseeing the Giants’ health and wellness initiatives.

ESPN reported that Kapler expects Nakken to travel with the team full time, suit up in uniform prior to games, throw batting practice and hit fungoes.

“Simply, I think she’s going to be a great coach,” Kapler said. “Merit and the ability to be a great coach trumps all.”

The Giants, who now have 13 coaches, said they also interviewed Rachel Balkovec for the position. She went on to be hired by the New York Yankees as a full-time minor league hitting coach.

According to the MLB, Justine Siegal was the first women to be hired as a coach at any professional level when she was the first-base coach for the Brockton Rox, an independent team, in 2009. She went on to become the first woman to throw batting practice to a major league team, and the first woman to be hired by a major league organization when the Oakland Athletics hired her in 2015 as a guest instructor in their instructional league.

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