Justine Siegal

From BR Bullpen

Justine S.png

Justine Siegal is from Cleveland, OH originally. She founded "BaseBall for All" and has coached female baseball teams. She coached at the college level with the male Springfield College squad. In 2009, she was hired as a coach of the Brockton Rox, becoming the first female coach in male professional baseball history.

On February 21, 2011, she accomplished another milestone, being hired to throw batting practice at the Cleveland Indians spring training complex in Goodyear, AZ. She was believed to be the first woman to have thrown batting practice against major leaguers at the time.

Raised in Cleveland Heights, OH in a family of baseball fanatics, Siegal wanted to play baseball at Hawken School, in Gates Mills, OH but was not allowed to try out. Instead, she enrolled in a baseball camp, got to pitch against some her high school classmates, striking out the side and changing their minds. She pitched and played third base in high school after transferring from Hawken to Brewster Academy, then played in various men's leagues after graduation. In 2007, she was hired as an assistant coach at Springfield College while starting work on a Ph.D in sports and exercise psychology.

Siegal's status as the only female coach for a men's collegiate team in the country attracted the attention of the nearby Brockton team in the Can-Am Association, which offered her a coaching job in 2009. She was good enough to be re-hired in 2010, then took a break in order to complete her studies. However, she also contacted various teams at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, FL to get a chance to pitch some batting practice in spring training. Chris Antonetti, GM of her hometown Indians, agreed to give her a shot. After she proved her mettle against a few of the team's minor leaguers, she was allowed to work out with major league catchers Lou Marson, Paul Phillips and Juan Apodaca, and then to face major league hitters in the batting cage. Two days later, she threw another session at the Oakland A's camp in Phoenix, AZ, an opportunity set up after meeting GM Billy Beane at the winter meetings. On March 9, after traveling across the country to Port Charlotte, FL, she threw batting practice for the Tampa Bay Rays. After the session, Rays OF Sam Fuld praised her work and said he saw no reason she could not do the job full-time.

Justine's 13-year-old daughter Jasmine watched her mother's moment in the sun, later commenting that she was relatively unimpressed: "I can wake up any morning and see her throw," Jasmine Siegal said with a smile. During both batting practice sessions, Siegal wore a patch commemorating Christina Taylor Green, the daughter of John Green and granddaughter of Dallas Green who was killed in a shooting spree aimed at US Representative Gabrielle Giffords near Tucson, AZ a month earlier. As a Little League player, Christina embodied the values that Justine Siegal has been promoting through her "BaseBall for All" foundation.

On September 29, 2015, the Oakland A's announced that she had been hired as a guest instructor for their club in the Arizona Instructional League, making her the first female coach in organized baseball. The plan was for her to be coaching prospects not only on the field, but also on the mental aspects of the game, putting her Ph.D in sports psychology to good use.

Source: Mister Baseball

Further Reading[edit]

  • Alyson Footer: "Siegal lets girls know that baseball is for all: Initiative founder encourages female participation in game", mlb.com, February 18, 2015. [1]
  • Michelle R. Martinelli: "For women playing baseball, acceptance grows as they attack 'cultural myth'", USA Today Sports, August 9, 2016. [2]
  • Dorothy Seymour Mills: "My Favorite Baseball Player: Justine Siegal, The National Pastime Museum [3]

Related Sites[edit]