MILWAUKEE -- Sara Goodrum has been promoted to minor league hitting coordinator by the Milwaukee Brewers, apparently making her the first woman to have that role in any Major League Baseball organization.
Goodrum's official title with the Brewers is coordinator for hitting development initiatives, but she essentially will be filling the role of a minor league hitting coordinator. Brewers vice president of minor league operations Tom Flanagan said Thursday that "to our knowledge, she would be the first" woman to hold that position in an MLB organization.
"Especially with the players who are coming up now, they don't care if you're a man or a woman," Goodrum said Thursday. "If you can provide them with information and guidance that's going to help them accomplish their dream of making it to the big leagues, they don't care."
Goodrum, 27, has been working in this role since October. The Brewers officially announced the promotion Thursday as they released the names and positions of their entire 2021 player development staff.
She had spent the past three seasons in the Brewers' sports science department, working primarily on hitting. Her previous title was coordinator for integrative sports performance.
"Being able to observe her working around our hitters, it's not like she's coming in from some other department where she had no other interaction with our player development staff," Flanagan said. "She's been right there, kind of in the forefront, working with our hitters to some degree on different aspects in the past. "
"And I think her skill set is very unique," Flanagan added. "It gives her a very different perspective in terms of different training techniques she probably has a lot of experience with that she feels she can implement and help reestablish our hitting curriculum and help our hitters train better and be better throughout our system. Just seeing her work from afar, all of our hitting coaches and player development staff definitely have that familiarity and think that she can really impact the hitting apparatus here."
Goodrum played softball for Oregon from 2012-15 and also spent that time working as an undergraduate research assistant at the Bowerman Sports Science Clinic. Texas softball coach Mike White, who coached Goodrum at Oregon, described her as someone "who put the team before herself" and added that "you could always see that she was studying and learning."
During those years at Oregon, the lifelong baseball fan started to realize she could have a career in the sport.
"I feel at home when I'm on a baseball field," Goodrum said. "It brings so much joy to me."
She earned a master's degree in exercise and sports science from Utah and began interning with the Brewers in April 2017. She became the Brewers' coordinator for integrative sports performance in November 2017.
Now she's making history in her new role. Goodrum said she has a "tremendous amount of gratitude" toward the Brewers organization" and that "they've been nothing but supportive of what I've been trying to do professionally."
Goodrum has said her belief in herself enables her to deal with the challenges and uncertainty that come with every new situation.
"For me, the feeling of doubt and that feeling of being a little bit uncomfortable is something I really honestly embrace," Goodrum said. "I think the day I realize I'm not uncomfortable in what I'm doing, I'm not growing."
Goodrum will be based in Phoenix, where the Brewers have their spring training home. She's the latest woman to move into a groundbreaking role.
The Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as general manager last November, making her MLB's highest-ranked woman in baseball operations. The Marlins believe Ng is the first female GM in the four major North American professional sports leagues.
The New York Yankees hired Rachel Balkovec as a minor league hitting coach in 2019, and she is believed to be the first woman hitting coach employed by an MLB organization. Last year, the San Francisco Giants made Alyssa Nakken the first female coach on a major league staff. Bianca Smith begins working as a Boston Red Sox minor league coach this season, making her the first Black woman to serve as an on-field coach.
Nakken is a former Sacramento State softball player who joined the Giants organization in 2014 as an intern in baseball operations. Balkovec had previously worked as a St. Louis Cardinals minor league strength and conditioning coordinator and with the Houston Astros as a Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator. Smith played softball for two years as well as club baseball at Dartmouth and also was an assistant athletic director in charge of compliance at Division III Carroll University in Wisconsin, where she also worked as a hitting coordinator and volunteer assistant coach.