The Red Sox announced they’ve hired Bianca Smith as a minor league coach on Monday, making her the first Black woman coach in professional baseball history.
Smith, 29, will be based in the team’s player development complex in Fort Meyers, Florida. She told MLB Network on Monday that she’s “still wrapping her head around” the opportunity.
“I think it’s a great opportunity also to just inspire other women who are interested in this game,” she said. “This is not something I thought about when I was younger and I kind of fell into it being an athlete, so I’m excited to get that chance to show what I can do.”
Smith, who played softball at Dartmouth College, previously served an assistant coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Wisconsin. She was also an assistant coach at the University of Dallas and director of baseball operations at Case Western Reserve University. CBS Sports reports she interned with the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds organizations.
She also studied biomechanics to gain an edge in coaching her players.
“I wanted to learn more about how the body actually worked,” she told MLB Network. “Each athlete is different, so I can’t give the same drill to multiple players if physically that’s just not how their body is set up. So, I wanted to be able see first how do my athletes move, and what are the best drills that work for them in the constraints in their own body.”
The announcement got the attention of sports icon Billie Jean King, who tweeted congratulations to Smith. Smith thanked supporters a day later on Twitter.
“I am so incredibly grateful for all of the support I’ve been getting!” she wrote Tuesday. “Of course none of this would be possible without the help of my family, friends, and the trailblazers who came before me. I can’t wait to get started. Thank you so much and go Red Sox!!”
Women have been breaking barriers in baseball over the last year. The Miami Marlins made history whento become the first female general manager in November. She is believed to be the first female GM for a men’s team in a major professional sport in North America,
And the San Francisco Giants’ Alyssa Nakken made history in July as the first woman to coach on-field during a MLB game when she went in and took over as the team’s first-base coach, helping the Giants to a 6-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics.