The Arizona Diamondbacks’ High-A minor-league team made history Friday.
The Hillsboro Hops officially hired Ronnie Gajownik as their next manager, making her just the second woman manager in professional baseball and the first woman to manage at the High-A level.
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"I know that if my dad took me out of school on a Wednesday and we went to a baseball game and I saw a female coach on the field, I know Thursday my life would have been changing in the trajectory of where I want it to go," Gajownik said in a statement. "So the visibility aspect of it is huge, because, again, it's showing little girls and showing women that we're breaking the glass ceiling and we're leaving breadcrumbs for everybody behind us for us just to keep adding on to it to see how far we can go."
Gajownik is the second female manager in professional baseball, joining Rachel Balkovec, who was hired to lead the Yankees’ Single-A team, the Tampa Tarpons, last season.
“On behalf of the entire organization, we congratulate Ronnie on this significant milestone as she becomes the second female team manager in Minor League Baseball and at the highest developmental level,” Diamondbacks president and CEO Derrick Hall said in a statement. “We look forward to witnessing her continued growth within player development as she shapes and develops the future stars of the D-backs, while continuing to be a tremendous point of pride for the enterprise.”
Gajownik first joined the Diamondbacks organization in 2021, when she served as a video assistant with the Hops. She then worked as an assistant last season and served as a coach for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.
She won a gold medal with Team USA’s women’s baseball team in the 2015 Pan-American games.
"It feels great to get this opportunity, especially with the Diamondbacks," Gajownik said in a statement. "They saw my potential in me as a coach and as a person, and then obviously taking that chance with me last year. So this opportunity means a lot to me. Hopefully, everybody who's been involved with me and also hopefully all the little girls and the women who are seeing this know that if you're qualified, you can do it. And ... that's all you need to be. If you're qualified, you can go ahead and do whatever it is you're passionate about."