Baseball history will be made this weekend in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Former collegiate and Olympic softball star Jennie Finch will become the first woman to manage a professional baseball team when she serves as guest manager for the independent Bridgeport Bluefish this Sunday.
The Bluefish announced Finch would serve as a guest manager back in March. In addition to managing the team she will also throw out the ceremonial first pitch and hold a meet-and-greet with fans before the game.
"We are really excited to have Jennie come out and manage the team," says Bluefish GM Jamie Toole in a statement. "She is an incredible athlete and a wonderful person, and we hope our fans will enjoy seeing her in a Bluefish uniform for the day."
Minor league and independent league teams are always looking for clever promotions and ways to drum up interest, and Finch will certainly help the Bluefish attract fans. She is the most well-known softball player in recent years and maybe ever.
The history aspect of this should not be overlooked though. A woman managing a pro team is a big deal. No, it's not the major leagues, but the first woman to manage was never going to happen in MLB. It was going to have to happen somewhere else first, and it's happening this weekend in an independent league.
Finch played for the University of Arizona for 1999-2002 and helped the team to a national championship in 2001. She also won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics and a silver medal in the 2008 Olympics. Once upon a time she struck out Albert Pujols:
Finch is married to former big league reliever Casey Daigle. Among the ex-MLB players she'll manage with the Bluefish this weekend are Endy Chavez, Dan Johnson, Jonathan Albaladejo, and Josh Vitters.
Two years ago Pete Rose served as guest manager for the Bluefish.
(h/t Big League Stew)