Astros History

First Female MiLB Manager was Once an Astros Coordinator

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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The first female Minor League Baseball manager, Rachel Balkovec, was with the Astros not too long ago.

While a trailblazer in the game of baseball, Rachel Balkovec has been hired as the Low-A Tampa Tarpons’ manager, a New York Yankees’ affiliate. Balkovec is the first female to be a minor-league manager in MLB.

To get responses back from major-league organizations, Balkovec jumped through hoops when applying, as reported by the Houston Chronicle.

"“One could see, therefore, why Balkovec at one point changed her résumé name to ‘Rae.’ And the résumé no longer read ‘NCAA Division I softball player.’ It read ‘NCAA Division I catcher,’ and she signed her emails ‘R. Balkovec.'”"

Balkovec started her career in professional baseball in 2012, as a temporary contract strength and conditioning coach for a St. Cardinals’ minor-league affiliate. There, she won the award for strength coach of the year and assumed the roll from there on.

She was the first woman to do so.

Her stay with the Houston Astros started in 2016, when the ball club hired Balkovec to be their Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator. Balkovec learned Spanish to better communicate with her players.

She was the first woman to take this position in MLB.

By 2018, Balkovec was the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks’ strength and conditioning coordinator. She then embarked on a second master’s degree in the Netherlands, where the 34-year-old was a hitting coach for different programs.

When she returned to the states, Balkovec worked for Driveline Baseball, before being hired as the Yankees’ hitting coach for the 2020 season. The Nebraska native coached in Australia, with COVID-19 delaying the MLB season.

Balkovec has international and major-league experience behind her, which placed herself as a candidate to be the manager of the Yankees’ Low-A affiliate. The 34-year-old takes ship for her first season as manager in spring of 2022.

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