BOSTON (CBS) — Bianca Smith is set to make baseball history with the Boston Red Sox this season, becoming the first Black woman to coach in professional baseball.
Smith was hired by the Red Sox on Monday, and will work primarily with position players at the team’s player development facilities in Fort Myers, Florida. The 29-year-old Smith is honored to break a barrier in a game that she’s loved since she was a kid.
“Just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean you can’t do it,” Smith told CBS This Morning’s Dana Jacobson. “Someone has to be the first, otherwise it’s never going to happen.”
It has been a long journey to this point for Smith. She’s been a baseball fan for most of her life, and had dreams of working in a Major League front office. After playing softball at Dartmouth, she had internships with the Texas Rangers and Cincinnati Reds in their baseball ops. departments, and also had an internship in the Commissioner’s office,
But she realized along the way that her real passion was in coaching. After serving as director of baseball ops. at Case Western Reserve University for five years, she returned to the bench as an assistant coach at the University of Dallas in 2018. She was the assistant coach and hitting coordinator at Carroll University in Wisconsin when the Red Sox came calling about an opportunity in the big leagues.
There were times when Smith didn’t think her dream would come true, though she had a good fallback plan with a duel degree in business and in law. At one point, she worked eight jobs at the same time (including one as a volunteer coach) to pay rent.
But she kept pushing because of the support from her parents.
“Surprisingly, there were times where they said why don’t you go to take the bar and practice law for a bit. But they saw how much I wanted to do this,” Smith recalls. “They saw the drive and the passion and how much I loved coaching. They were willing to do anything necessary to help me.”
Since taking the job with the Red Sox, Smith has realized the impact that her hiring will have on other women and women of color who are aspiring for a job in pro sports.
“When I accepted I was just thinking I get to coach. I knew it would be a pretty big deal, but I didn’t realize how big this was to people,” she told Jacobson. “To me, this is an opportunity to hopefully inspire other women and other women of color who are interested in this game. Who might even have the idea that they wanted to coach, but because they haven’t seen someone who looks like them do it, it never really occurred to them that they could do it too.”