What You Didn't Know About Alyssa Nakken, The First Female On-Field MLB Coach

On April 12, Alyssa Nakken made history when she became the first woman to coach on the field during a regular-season game for the MLB (via CBS Sports). According to The Guardian, the San Francisco Giants were playing against the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park. ESPN reports that Nakken, age 31, was asked to coach first base for the Giants during the third inning when coach Antoan Richardson was ejected by the first-base umpire. Who is Nakken? Sports Illustrated writes that she is the Giants' full-time major league assistant coach. Nakken, however, has been associated with the team since 2014.

Per NBC Sports, she's been playing softball since she was 9 years old. Nakken also had a college career with the sport and played at California State University, Sacramento for the Sacramento State Hornets (per All American Speakers). The Sportings News states that from 2009-2012, she was part of the All-Pacific Coast Softball Conference team. In 2015, Nakken graduated from the University of San Francisco with a master's in sports management. By that point, she had already been interning for the Giants, doing administrative and operational work (via the MLB). In January 2020, Nakken's big break came when she was hired as a coach by Giants manager Gabe Kapler (via CNBC).

Alyssa Nakken is an innovator for women in baseball

According to Insider, Nakken's hiring subsequently made her the MLB's first full-time female coach. In other words, her April 2022 on-field appearance was not the first time she had made history (via Sports Illustrated). Upon her hiring in 2020, Nakken told the MLB that she never thought that she would become a coach, but was looking forward to showing young girls that they, too, can become one. On July 20 2020, she coached her first major league game when the Giants played against the Oakland A's, per CNN. The Giants ended up winning, 6-2.

That same year, Baseball America reported that Nakken received a Trailblazer of the Year Award. Giants Manager Kapler praised her and stated that, "She's plenty driven. Her work ethic is really second to none, so I don't want to put any limitations on what Alyssa is capable of." Nonetheless, Nakken has felt nothing but gratitude and respect from her job and her coworkers.

In a 2021 interview with USF Magazine,she expressed that she was treated equally by everyone on the field. This came three years after the MLB earned a C for gender diversity in the 2019 Racial and Gender Report Card done by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports. It's perhaps for this reason that Jean Afterman, assistant general manager for the New York Yankees, has gone on to say that Nakken has undoubtedly changed the game when it comes to gender roles in major league baseball.

She's married to a baseball coach

According to The U.S. Sun, Nakken is not the only one in her family who is involved in baseball. Her husband, 35-year-old Robert Abel Nakken, is also a baseball coach. Additionally, he founded C.R.A.B.S — the Coach Robert Abel Baseball School. This is a youth program that trains kids to play baseball in high school, college, and more. Like Nakken, he also attended the University of San Francisco. Robert received a degree in sociology and has worked as a P.E. teacher since 2014.

He also seems to have a sense of humor, as his Twitter bio reads that he is the "2nd best coach in my own household." Robert is active on Instagram, where he frequently posts about baseball and pictures of Nakken. The Knot reports that the pair met when they were both students at Woodland High School. They became engaged in December 2020 and married on November 19, 2021 in San Rafael, California. Nakken and her husband currently do not have any children.

Another woman is also making baseball history

When Nakken first stepped out on the field on April 12, The Guardian writes, she received a standing ovation from the crowd and a handshake from Eric Hosmer, first baseman for the San Diego Padres. Antoan Richardson, who was replaced by Nakken after his ejection from the field, commended her efforts (via ESPN). In the end, the Giants won, 13-2. Nakken, however, is not the only female trailblazer in baseball. NBC News reports that this historical moment came days after Rachel Balkovec (above) became the first woman to manage an MLB affiliated team, on April 8.

According to NPR, Balkovec, 34, is managing the Tampa Tarpons, a team that is affiliated with the New York Yankees. Like Nakken, Balkovec played college softball. She later became a strengthening and conditioning coach for the minor leagues before becoming the first woman to be a full-time hitting coach. She later told AP News that as a woman, she's faced a number of challenges to get where she is today. Nakken herself has stated, "I feel a great sense of responsibility and I feel it's my job to honor those who have helped me to where I am" (per ESPN).