Alexandria Rigoli and Melissa Hampton have always loved baseball—and designed their lives around working in the sport they adored. It’s something thousands of young people around the country do, but these young women are notable because they are, well, women. Until the team hired Rigoli and Hampton, the Marlins have only employed men in operations and field staff roles.
The culture is changing, and teams want to hire the best people who’ll get the job done. As a result, Rigoli and Hampton are part of a growing wave of women in baseball. Roommates and friends off the field, Rigoli is a pro scouting assistant from North Jersey and Hampton is the athletic trainer for the club’s Gulf Coast League team. She is originally from Oklahoma City.
Both have been welcomed to Marlins enthusiastically due to their impressive qualifications and knowledge of – and deep passion for – the game of baseball. Hampton did have to deal with one unusual logistical situation. The Marlins’ facility does not have a women’s locker room. As a result, Hampton uses the media-relations staff’s spring training office. She says everyone has gotten very used to having a woman around as she goes about her business of stretching players and doing rehab. She belongs there.
Major League Baseball is making an effort, as an organization, to hire more women and minorities. There are 90 women working in baseball ops departments across the game. There are 17 women working in on-field roles according to reporting done by the Miami Sun Sentinel; Hampton is one of fewer than 10 female minor league athletic trainers out of 232 teams.