2020 has been a horrendous year in many respects, but there have been some positive developments, especially when it comes to women breaking through in sports.
From college football to the NFL to the NBA, females made history this year -- and now the Red Sox are following suit.
The Sox are hiring Bianca Smith as a minor league coach, making her the first Black female coach in professional baseball history. Smith will work with position players in Fort Myers, Florida.
“She was a great candidate coming in,” Red Sox vice president of player development Ben Crockett said. “She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skillset and development herself.”
Smith's experiences include playing collegiate softball in New England at Dartmouth, plus coaching stops at Case Western Reserve, the University of Dallas, and Carroll University in Wisconsin, where she has served as assistant baseball coach and hitting coordinator since 2019.
She also has MLB experience, having interned for both the Rangers and Reds.
Smith's hire is the latest breakthrough for females in sports that have been traditionally male.
In September, a Washington-Cleveland NFL game became the first contest to feature female coaches on both sidelines plus a female official on the field. In December, Vanderbilt's Sarah Fuller became the first female to score a point in a Power Five game. And on Wednesday night, the Spurs' Becky Hammon became the first female to be an NBA head coach when she took over after Gregg Popovich's ejection.
Now Smith's hire breaks huge ground in baseball.
“It’s a meaningful, meaningful thing for the organization,” Crockett told the Globe.