Justine Siegal

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Justine Siegal
Born New York City, NY
Nationality American
Education
Occupation baseball coach and sports educator.
Employer Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University
Known for
Title Director of Sports Partnerships

Justine Siegal (born in 1975) is an American baseball coach and sports educator who is particularly interested and involved in sports gender equity, and noted for her success in coaching baseball in contexts that were previously male-only.[1]

In 2009, she became the first female coach of a professional men's baseball team. In 2011, she became the first woman to throw batting practice to an MLB team, the Cleveland Indians during spring training. In 2015, hired by the Oakland Athletics for a two-week coaching stint in their instructional league in Arizona, she became the first female coach employed by an MLB team.[2]

Siegal coached Team Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic in March 2017.

Early life[edit]

Siegal was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and is Jewish.[3][4] Her grandfather and grandmother endowed the Cleveland College of Judaic Studies, now affiliated with Case Western Reserve University called the Laura and Alvin Siegal Lifelong Learning Program.[3] Her grandfather also led the fundraising for Israel Bonds in Cleveland for a number of years.[3]

Siegal grew up in Cleveland Heights, a suburb of Cleveland.[5] She was introduced to baseball at a very young age, as her grandfather Alvin Siegel frequently took her to Cleveland Indian baseball games.[1][6] Her father, Michael, always signed her up for baseball, rather than for softball.[5] At 13, her baseball coach told her she didn't belong in baseball because she was a woman and baseball was a man's sport.[7] She believed that this was wrong, and continued playing baseball despite people who discouraged her from playing baseball because it was a "man's sport". At age 16 she made it her goal to coach baseball at a collegiate level, despite being discouraged by others from playing and coaching baseball at this age as well.[8] She attended the Brewster Academy (where she played baseball for two years) and Hawken High School (her freshman and senior years).[1][9] In high school, she played third base and pitched.[5]

Academic background[edit]

Siegal attended Beloit College and holds a B.A. from St. Olaf College with a concentration in "Leadership: Religion, Military, and Baseball", an M.A. in Sport Studies from Kent State University, and a Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Springfield College (MA).[6] Her academic focus is in performance enhancement, sport management, coaching, gender equity, and youth sports.[10] Siegel knew the difficulties of trying to be a baseball coach, so she went on to pursue her Ph.D to equal the level of opportunities.[8]

Center for the Study of Sport in Society[edit]

Since 2011, Siegal is the Director of Sports Partnerships at the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University.[11][12][6] As the Director she works towards expanding academic programs and relationships with Major League Baseball and other sports organizations.

Coaching youth and college baseball[edit]

In 2002, Siegal formed the Sparks, the first all-girl team to compete in a national "boys" baseball tournament. A documentary film, "Girls of Summer" (not to be confused with the 1988 film of the same title), was made about the team.

Along with coaching youth baseball, Siegal was assistant coach for the Springfield College baseball team, the only woman coach in the collegiate baseball ranks in the years of 2008-10.[13][10]

In addition Siegal has been a coach and Technical Commissioner for the International Baseball Federation, where she has coached for the World Children’s Team USA. The team won the gold medal at the Women’s Baseball World Cup.[13]

Coaching and pitching batting practice in men's professional baseball[edit]

Siegal in 2009 became the first female coach of a professional men's baseball team, when she worked for the Brockton Rox, in the independent Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, as the first-base coach.[14][15]

In 2011, at the age of 36, she was the first woman to throw batting practice to an MLB team, the Cleveland Indians during spring training.[16][15] Catcher Paul Phillips, to whom she pitched, said: "I thought she did great. She would fit right in. Had you not seen her pony tails, you would not have thought anything of it."[5][17] Siegal said: "This is my biggest day in baseball so far. This is the greatest game on earth."[18] She has also thrown batting practice to the Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, and New York Mets.[19][20][21][22]

Siegal was hired by the Oakland Athletics in October 2015 for a two-week coaching stint as a guest instructor in their instructional league in Arizona, becoming the first female coach employed by a Major League Baseball team.[23][10] David Frost, the A’s assistant general manager, stated that they were thrilled that "Justine will be joining us for instructional league.... she brings with her a wealth of knowledge and expertise from years of playing, coaching, and teaching the game and all of our young players will benefit greatly from her time in camp."[24]

In September 2016 she was the mental skills coach for Israel at the 2017 World Baseball Classic qualifier. In November 2016 it was announced that she would return as the same role in the main tournament in March 2017.[25]

Baseball For All[edit]

Growing up being told that baseball is a sport for man, while softball is the sport for women, influenced her to start her own nonprofit organization called Baseball For All when she was 23 years old.[26] Siegal is the founder and executive director of Baseball for All, an organization that works toward gender equity in youth baseball by strongly encouraging and providing opportunities for girls to participate in baseball.[11][27][10][28]

Baseball For All encourages and provides equal opportunities for girls with the same passion for baseball to connect and foster that passion playing baseball. Through Baseball For All she is trying to get rid of the status quo of females being discouraged from playing baseball. Baseball For All encourages young girls to pursue their love for baseball, and educates the public on the importance of equal opportunities for men and women.[29] The programs works on giving girls the sources needed to participate in the sport whether it means becoming a player, coach, umpire, or filling other baseball roles in hopes that other communities will extend their baseball programs to girls.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of Women and Baseball - Google Books
  2. ^ "Justine Siegal first female coach in Majors". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  3. ^ a b c "Oakland As make Justine Siegal first female coach in MLB history," J.
  4. ^ "Life for Justine Siegal, first woman to throw batting practice to Major Leaguers, 'is about getting back up'" | cleveland.com
  5. ^ a b c d "Justine Siegal becomes first woman to throw big league batting practice," MLB.com.
  6. ^ a b c "The 9/11 legacy of a Little League girl," ESPN.
  7. ^ Abel, Judy. "Malibu's Justine Siegal Steps Up to the Plate". Malibu Times. Retrieved 2017-03-13. 
  8. ^ a b "Breaking barriers: Justine Siegal shows a woman can have career as coach in baseball". Jewish Baseball Museum. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 
  9. ^ "Justine Siegal joins Brockton Rox coaching staff" - The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, MA
  10. ^ a b c d "Justine Siegal first female coach in Majors," mlb.com.
  11. ^ a b Bio page, Northeastern University's Center for the Study of Sport in Society.
  12. ^ Kicking Off: How Women in Sport Are Changing the Game - Sarah Shephard - Google Books
  13. ^ a b "Justine Siegal". www.northeastern.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  14. ^ Ten Difficult Women: Their Impact and Legacy - Karen Reed Hadalski - Google Books
  15. ^ a b Baseball: A Special Gift from God - Bryan Steverson - Google Books
  16. ^ "Breaking down barriers, one pitch at a time", Sports, Yahoo!, 2011-02-21 .
  17. ^ The Early Lead - Justine Siegal makes baseball history by throwing batting practice, The Washington Post.
  18. ^ "Justine Siegal Gets Chance to Throw Batting Practice for Indians," The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Baseball Video Highlights & Clips", Siegal moves onto Athletics batting practice (Video), MLB .
  20. ^ "Advocate for Women in Baseball Finally Gets to Be One", The New York Times, 2011-02-22, retrieved 11 October 2013 .
  21. ^ "2011 spring training: Cleveland Indians put first woman on MLB mound — for batting practice", ESPN, Go .
  22. ^ Dream Comes True For Female Pitcher, NPR, 2011-02-23 .
  23. ^ "A’s hire woman coach: Justine Siegal to be guest instructor", Susan Slusser, September 29, 2015
  24. ^ "Justine Siegal first female coach in Majors". Major League Baseball. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  25. ^ "Team Israel Announces Coaching Staff for World Baseball Classic", baseball.org.il.
  26. ^ "Malibu Sports Spotlight: Justine Siegal" | malibutimes.com
  27. ^ "Baseball For All". Baseball For All. Retrieved 2015-11-28. 
  28. ^ Making My Pitch: A Woman's Baseball Odyssey - Ila Jane Borders - Google Books
  29. ^ "Baseball For All". Baseball For All. Retrieved 2016-10-06. 

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