As the title indicates, today is a great day for baseball.
The Gulf Coast League (GCL) just announced (via press release) the hiring of female umpire Jen Pawol for the 2016 season. Pawol will be the first female umpire in the Minors since 2007, but the first female umpire in the GCL since Pam Postema called balls and strikes in 1977.
Jen Pawol at the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy
Pawol attended the 2016 Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy in Florida, where she was selected for the MiLB Advanced Course – a curriculum reserved for top candidates who qualify for further training.
Needless to say, Pawol is very excited. “Beginning my career as a professional baseball umpire this week is a privilege that goes beyond words,” Pawol said in the press release. “I went to the Major League Baseball Umpire Camps and the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy with an open mind, a strong work ethic and a passion for umpiring, and I’m honored to be starting this exciting journey in the Gulf Coast League.”
Pawol will become just the seventh women to umpire a MiLB, along with Bernice Gara (1972), Christine Wren (1975-1977), Postema (1977-1989), Theresa Cox Fairlady (1989-1991), Ria Cortesio (1999-2007) and Shanna Kook (2003-2004).
As a former softball catcher and shortstop at Hofstra University, Pawol competed for the USA Baseball Women’s National team and received a master’s degree in fine arts from Hunter College. She then began her umpiring career in 2006, working her way through Division I softball up until 2015.
Her first game will be on Friday, June 24 in Dunedin, Florida, as the GCL Blue Jays host the GVL tigers at noon EDT.
All photos credited to Minor League Baseball.