Alyssa Nakken coaches San Francisco Giants first base
It was an unusual scene at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Tuesday. The Giants’ first baseman coach was ejected in the third inning, and after his replacement took the field, Eric Hosmer, the San Diego Padres’ first baseman, came over to shake his hand.
Hosmer clearly understood the importance of the moment: Alyssa Nakken had become the first woman to coach on the field in a Major League Baseball game.
Nakken, 31, is no stranger to premieres. An assistant coach in manager Gabe Kapler’s squad since 2020, she was already the first woman to hold a full-time coaching role in the majors.
After Tuesday’s game, which the Giants won 13-2, she spoke about the significance of the decision while also saying it was part of her job.
“I think we’re all inspirations doing everything we do on a day-to-day basis, and I think yes, it carries a little more weight because of the visibility,” she told reporters after the match.
“Obviously there is a historic nature to this,” she added. “But again, that’s my job.”
Nakken’s rise through the ranks of the Giants is part of a growing trend of women taking on bigger roles in the game. In recent months, Rachel Balkovec of the Tampa Tarpons became the first woman to lead a team of affiliate baseball; Genevieve Beacom, a 17-year-old pitcher, started playing professionally in Australia; and Kelsie Whitmore, a 23-year-old pitcher, signed a contract to play with the Staten Island FerryHawks of the Atlantic Professional Baseball League. Last year, Kim Ng became the first woman to lead an MLB team’s front office as general manager.
In San Francisco, Kapler said Nakken, in addition to his work on the team’s base run and outfield defense, helps keep things tidy for his unusually large 13-man coaching staff. He said Tuesday that she prepared to enter the field by working with the team’s regular first base coach, Antoan Richardson. She had also coached first base in spring training games.
“It’s not a foreign place on the court for her,” Kapler said. “She does so many other things that you don’t see. So it’s nice to kind of see her in the spotlight and do it on the pitch.
Unfortunately, Nakken’s big moment was sparked by a nasty incident in which Richardson got into a fight with Mike Shildt, the Padres’ third base coach. The argument probably started because a Giants player stole a base with a nine-point lead. But during the disagreement, Richardson said Shildt told Kapler the Giants manager needed to “control” Richardson, using a swear word to describe the coach, who is from the Bahamas. Richardson told reporters after the game that he thought the incident had “undertones of racism”.
While this incident between coaches is likely under investigation by the teams or MLB, the importance of Nakken taking the field was clear to everyone involved: the orange helmet she wore is on her way to Cooperstown to be added to the Baseball Hall of Fame. permanent collection.
“It’s a big deal,” she told reporters. “I feel a great sense of responsibility and I feel it’s my job to honor those who have helped me where I am.”