Hear that? That’s the sound of a glass ceiling not just cracking, but splintering into a jillion glittering pieces from the swing of one baseball bat. The bat in question belongs to Justine Siegal, the first woman to coach men’s professional baseball and to throw batting practice for such Major League Baseball teams as The A’s, the Rays, the Astros, and the Mets. Justine has transformed her passion for the game and for giving girls an opportunity to compete in and learn the skills of baseball into a thriving non-profit organization called Baseball for All. In addition to camps, clinics, and this year’s first ever baseball showcase, Baseball for All helped launch the Sparks, an all-girls baseball team comprised of some of the most talented and skilled girls in the twelve and under range. Justine is someone who continues to fight hard to break down gender boundaries in professional sports and elsewhere. As a mentor to young girls in an almost exclusively male-dominated field, Justine knows first hand that women always need to be ready to take advantage of opportunities whenever and wherever they might arise: “It’s a lot of preparing for the impossible,” says Justine. “But to not be ready is to be irresponsible. Be ready to adapt, and don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.”
Image from baseballforall.com
If you could describe yourself in three words, what would those words be?
Empathetic, Determined, and Stubborn
Tell us about a girl in your life who rocks.
My 15-year-old daughter, Jasmine, amazes me everyday. She is so much her own person. She is confident, thoughtful, happy, and inspiringly creative. I was super shy in high school but she's already got swag.
What are your dreams/goals/ambitions?
My dream is for there to be girls' baseball leagues all across the country. I'd also like to see a women's pro baseball league. I dream that my daughter will grow up to be happy, healthy, and someone who loves what they do and gives back to her community.
What are you most proud of?
My daughter, Jasmine.
What piece of advice changed your life?
It’s not advice per say, but when I was pregnant with Jasmine, I awoke one night, sat straight up, and the thought came to me: "the circle of life is love." I then went straight back to sleep. That midnight thought is now an essential part of who I am and what I do.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Pretty much doing the same thing I'm doing now. I'd like to keep helping girls who play baseball. Maybe get that dream job consulting for MLB. Also finish my book and do more public speaking and most definitely drive a better car.
What is the number one item on your bucket list?
Go to a U2 concert
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and what did you learn from it?
Going after my dream of throwing MLB BP (Batting Practice). To do something that has never been done before and in such a public format was a bit scary. Some thought it was impossible and others thought I was crazy. But I had some key people believe in me and I was then able to build enough momentum to make it happen. To accomplish my goal I had to learn how to ask for help. I was then humbled to see how many people were willing to help when I just asked them.
Why are you THAT GIRL?
I am THAT GIRL who was told I couldn't play baseball because I was a girl. I've been playing now for 30 years. I'm THAT GIRL who was told I couldn’t be a baseball coach because a man would never listen to a woman. I went on to become the first woman to coach in men's professional baseball. I then threw batting practice to 6 MLB teams. I was told no girl would ever be able to do that either. Now I am THAT GIRL who helps other girls play baseball through my nonprofit Baseball For All. Together we are THAT GIRL.
*Interview conducted and compiled by Sheila Moeschen, IATG Senior Editor