During the San Francisco Giants game tonight, history was taking place. Not just the shortest start of Yu Darvish’s career, but also among the coaches. After umpire Greg Gibson ejected the the Giants’ usual first-base coach, Antoan Richardson, one of the other coaches in uniform stepped forward to take Richardson’s place: Alyssa Nakken. In doing so, she became the first woman to coach on-field in a major league baseball game.
Nakken has been with the Giants since 2014, when she served as an intern in the baseball operations department. She was a standout softball player at Sacramento State before that. With the Giants, she worked her way up the organization, and was promoted to assistant coach during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, becoming the first woman to serve on a major league coaching staff. At the dawn of that season, Nakken came into the seventh inning of an exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics on July 25, 2020 to serve as first-base coach: she was the first woman on-field coach to appear in any major league game then. For her work during the 2020 season, she received the 2020 Trailblazer of the Year award from Baseball America.
Alyssa Nakken, 2020 MLB Trailblazer of the Year. https://t.co/DbDETxgdH9— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 3, 2020
As a coach, Nakken has worked closely with Richardson, as well as the Giants’ collection of hitting coaches. She holds a degree in psychology from Sacramento State, and that has also led her to be a linchpin in determining clubhouse culture. She has also worked closely with Mauricio Dubón, who tweeted this before the start of the 2020 season:
Congrats @AlyssaNakken becoming the FIRST EVER! I’m honored to share the field with you pic.twitter.com/gpdRjDevXy— Mauricio Dubon (@Mauriciodubon10) July 21, 2020
Her jersey from Opening Day 2020 hangs in Cooperstown. It’s likely this jersey will do the same. Congratulations to Alyssa Nakken, and an exciting moment in baseball history!