Breaking Barriers: Women in Baseball

Bianca Smith, Red Sox Coach
Bianca Smith. Photo Credit Sara Stathas

Shout out to Molly Harris, the Red Sox senior talent acquisition specialist (and daughter of my good friend, Claire) who recruited Bianca Smith, the first black woman to coach in pro baseball. 

Claire shared with me the New York Times article written by Juliet Macur about her daughter, Molly, and Bianca Smith. I read the article and was astounded at all that Smith has accomplished at only 30 years of age. She’s amazing and she’s a poster child for if you work hard you can achieve anything. She’s also a reminder that while it looks like people achieve instant fame, it’s usually backed up by years of hard work.  

Bianca Smith is only 30-years-old, but she put in the time and effort to get where she is today. Her love of baseball started when she was 3-years-old, sitting on her mom’s lap watching the Yankee’s play ball. She grew up fascinated by game strategy and the mental side of the game. She watched, studied, played, and talked baseball. In college at Dartmouth, she became the baseball team manager and was the only woman on the club baseball team before she graduated in 2012. She was named the first baseball operations manager at Case Western University and she did an internship for the Cincinnati Reds in 2019. 

She gave 110% at her internship, spending free time watching practices, taking notes, offering to help on the field.  And “every day she made sure to ask coaches at least one meaningful question about baseball.”  She lived and breathed baseball. 

“For a stretch after graduate school, as she applied for full-time positions in baseball, Smith held eight jobs at once so she could pay her rent: Sorting packages at a UPS warehouse at night. Packing online orders at Target. Working the cash register at Dollar Tree. Driving for Uber Eats. Tour guide and youth academy coach for the Texas Rangers. Ticket taker for F.C. Dallas. For extra baseball experience, she was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Dallas.”  

Let that sink in, eight jobs at once. We’re talking, do whatever it takes commitment.  

Her resume: “An Ivy League education. Two graduate degrees — one in sports business, the other in sports law. Internships with the Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers and one with Major League Baseball during which she helped with the draft. College coaching experience. Certifications on multiple software programs that analyze pitching and hitting.”

She has better qualifications than most of the other applicants, but she wasn’t a man.    

She contacted more than 100 Division I college coaches. 74 of them never responded, and of the 26 who did, only one offered her a position but not with enough pay to make it viable. She applied for 30-40 college baseball operations positions but received only three invitations for interviews, and none of those turned into a job offer. But she never gave up.

When Molly Harris saw Smith’s resume, she was excited and impressed, writing, “Wow” in the margins of the resume and making the first move to contact Smith.  Smith said, “I was pretty shocked to get that email, they just saw my résumé, and thought I’d be a good candidate to just talk to.”

And Harris was right, Smith is now the minor league coach for the Red Sox, and I’m excited to see all she will accomplish. 

March is Women’s History Month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture, and society. Today I’m celebrating Molly Harris, for reaching out to a highly qualified woman and creating the opportunity and for Bianca Harris who exemplifies hard work, desire, and perseverance. Congratulations to both of you, breaking barriers and making us proud.

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4 thoughts on “Breaking Barriers: Women in Baseball”

  1. Great Story!! Kudo’s to Molly and Bianca. It is always great to see women giving qualified women like Bianca an opportunity to shine! Lot’s of progress has been made but still lots to do to really achieve equality!

    1. yup, and you’ve also broken barriers and are a role model, while helping to raise up women so kudos to you too!

  2. Thanks Jackie for sharing this wonderful story and personally so very proud of my daughter Molly.
    During Women’s History Month a quote from HRC
    Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in.

    1. great quote and apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, you were a wonderful model on what a smart, strong, compassionate woman should be.

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