Elaine Weddington Steward
Elaine Weddington Steward (born c. 1964) was the first woman to ascend to the position of Assistant General Manager doing so with the Boston Red Sox on January 26, 1990. Moreover, she is also African-American, and reached her position at a time when African-American executives were extremely rare in Major League Baseball.
Growing up in New York, NY, she benefitted from a scholarship from the Jackie Robinson Foundation to obtain a post-secondary education. She studied athletics administration at St. John's University, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1984. She then went on to study law at the same school, obtaining a degree in 1987. Her first contact with baseball was when she met Mets player Felix Millan, who was a neighbor, as a teenager and became his kids' babysitter. She decided to apply for the scholarship that got her started in sports administration after hearing about it during a Mets broadcast, when ralph Kiner interviewed St. John's dean of athletic administration to fill time during a rain delay.
While still in school, she worked as an intern for the New York Mets and the office of the Commissioner under Peter Ueberroth, as part of its executive development program. In 1988, she was hired by the Boston Red Sox to work as an associate counsel. This was only one year after MLB's famous reckoning about the lack of diversity in its front offices, prompted by the unfortunate interview given by Al Campanis on the 40th anniversary of Robinson's major league debut. In 1990, she was promoted to Assistant General Manager by GM Lou Gorman. She was thus the first African American woman to hold any executive position in a major league front office. He main duties included working on contract negotiations, employment issues, litigation, licensing and ballpark improvements. She became the team's main legal counsel in 1995, and received the title of Vice-President in 1998. In 2002, following the team's sale, she let go of the Assistant GM title, but still retained the positions of Vice-President and legal counsel, which she sitll held as of 2020. In December 2019, the Red Sox promoted a second woman to the position of Assistant General Manager in Raquel Ferreira; only two other women have reached such a position, Kim Ng and Jean Afterman, both first promoted to that level by the New York Yankees.
She has been honored numerous times for her pioneering work on behalf of women in baseball and for being a role model for young women and especially young African-American women.
- Gordon Edes: "Elaine Steward: 30 years later, first female assistant GM reflects on making history with Red Sox", RedSox.com, 2020.