By Gary Norris Gray- Staff Reporter
Between 1968-1973 there was a new television hit on ABC, called the Mod Squad with the hip undercover police officers Julie (Peggy Lipton Jones), Linc (Clarence Williams III), and Peter (Michael Cole).
There is a new Mod Squad in Major League Baseball with Kim Ng as General Manager, Don Mattingly as Manager, and Derek Jeter as CEO and part owner of the up and coming Miami Marlins baseball team.
Three baseball minds have teamed up to change the face of Major League Baseball a sport that seems to be dragging its feet into the future. All three have the common thread of Joe Torre in their baseball life.
This sport has an unflattering record in employing minorities and a horrendous record in employing females. The Florida Marlins might have solved some of these problems.
Kim Ng could be the answer. American women are moving on up to the Eastside as that great song stated on the TV show The Jeffersons.
Kim Ng became the first female of the four major sports in North America to become a general manager of any professional team. She is also the first East Asian American to serve as a general manager. Her mother is of Thai decent her father Chinese.
She has paid her dues and if she were a male she would have had this job many years ago. In fact she may even be over qualified for this job. Many admire her grit and determination to continue her career in a male dominated sport. She has opened the door for females to follow her in baseball’s executive offices.
Thirty years ago with the Chicago White Soxs she worked as an intern. The fellow New Jersey resident graduated from the University of Chicago playing softball for the Flames.
The White Soxs hired her full time in 1991 promoting her to Assistant Director of Baseball Operations. She never quit and wanting more.
In 1998 The New York Yankees came calling under Brian Cashman becoming the youngest and the first assistant general manager at 29 years old. Ms. Ng has a resume with six Championship Series, three World Series with the New York Yankees. Qualified.
This intelligent and glass shattering woman also worked for the Los Angeles Dodgers as a vice president and assistant general manager in 2001.
She left the Dodgers in 2011 moving up the latter as senior vice president of operations for Major League Baseball and reported to ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre who is currently special assistant to the commissioner.
The Captain of the New York Yankees is another New Jersey resident who guided the pinstripes to multiple championships and playoff games.
Mr. Jeter is now famous Rookie of the Year and World Series Star A.K.A., becoming Mr. November hitting a homerun in the 2001 Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Mr. October-Reggie Jackson had to take a back seat at Yankee Stadium in the 1990’s.
Jeter became the CEO of the Marlins in 2017. He immediately change the losing culture of the Florida Marlins by releasing half of the coaching staff and half of the players. Jeter started from scratch and got heat from the Cuban-American fan base for not resigning some of their favorite players.
It took a few years but Jeter’s vision is finally appearing. The Marlins had 50 different starting lineups and made the playoffs this year. That was the managerial skills of Mattingly and Jeter not giving up on the Marlins. They just might have added fuel to the fire in South Beach with the addition of Ms. Kim Ng.
Jeter knew he needed help in the front office and Kim Ng seemed to be the logical choose. Ng had the same vision and wanted a chance to show the world that she could create a World Series Champion.
DONALD ARTHUR MATTINGLY
Mr. Mattingly is the only New York Yankee to have his number retired without winning a World Series. Yankee fans do not forget this. Don Mattingly followed manager Joe Torre with his coaching duties in New York and Los Angeles.
The Florida-Miami Marlins hired Mattingly in 2016 after his stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodger managerial job wore on Mattingly because many fans believed he under-achieved with the talent on the field in Dodger Blue. “The Hit Man,” took a hard lesion from Chavez Ravine and is now applying what he learned in the uniform of pastel colors.
This is the Old Boy network at play in a positive way they have added a female to the mix this time. Jeter knew Mattingly through the New York Yankees and Joe Torre. Kim Ng completes the circle and could be one of the most powerful forces in the future of Major League Baseball.
Mattingly and Jeter have one thing in common and that is the art of playing defense on the baseball diamond. Both are teaching the young Marlins this art.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
This seem to bring them together again in Southern Florida. Between the three of them they have many playoff and World Series appearances.
These three individuals might change the course of Major League Baseball. These three have a daunting task to make this profession move in a different direction and to include people of color and women. This bold move might bring in young fans and females who play the game. All three had the guiding light of Joe Torre who taught them humility, grace, passion, and how to proceed in their stated goals.
This is the first positive move Major League Baseball has made in 60 years, let’s see if they continue to expand their fan base.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor News Radio Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email email@example.com