Last night’s exhibition game between the Giants and Athletics was notable because manager Gabe Kapler and a handful of players decided to kneel during the anthem. It was also notable because Alyssa Nakken coached first base, marking the first time a woman coached on the field in a Major League Baseball game. She replaced regular first base coach Antoan Richardson late in the game.
Per MLB.com’s Maria Guardado, Kapler said, “Alyssa did a great job out there at first base today. Antoan stepped up and made sure that Alyssa continued her development as well.”
Nakken, 30, got her start with the Giants in 2014, joining the baseball operations department as an intern in the health and wellness programs. After earning a master’s degree in sports management, she moved up to the major league coaching staff as an assistant coach earlier this year. Kapler, the Giants’ new manager, was responsible for the hire.
Kapler never specifically honed in on the fact that Nakken would be making history as a woman. She told Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, “Never once did Gabe talk about being the first or even being female. We needed an All-Star on this staff to just help kind of guide the ship because all of these coaches are new except for Ron Wotus and I’ve been in the organization for five years.”
Nakken said, “I’m so excited to be in this role for the challenge and the opportunity to make an impact for this organization that I love. But also, I’m excited that now girls can see there is a job on the field in baseball. It’s really cool.”
Outfielder Hunter Pence and infielder Mauricio Dubon were among the players to publicly congratulate Nakken:
Nakken won’t be among the coaches who dress in uniform during the abbreviated 2020 regular season. She will typically be seen hitting grounders or throwing batting practice.