Thursday, June 9, 2016

GCL Ump Jen Pawol is 1st Female MiLB Umpire in 10 Yrs

Baseball hired Jen Pawol, MiLB's first female umpire in 10 years, assigning her to Florida's Gulf Coast League after a successful run at the MiLB Umpire Training Academy and Advanced Course (formerly PBUC Evaluation). She attended the program alongside another woman, Annie Monachello, who both received scholarships out of the MLB Umpire Camps program. These were the first two scholarships ever awarded to women for MiLB's professional umpire school in Florida.

Jen Pawol will make her debut 6/24.
Photo: FirstGiving/UMPS CARE.
The GCL tacitly and quietly confirmed Pawol's hire when the league updated its information guide for the 2016 season, listing Pawol amongst its staff of 14 umpires. Pawol is a USA Baseball Women's National Team alum, and previously played softball at Hofstra University.

Ria Cortesio (released from Double-A following the 2007 season) was the last female umpire in Minor League Baseball while Pam Postema was the last female umpire to reach AAA. Postema filed a gender discrimination lawsuit after her 1989 firing, which gained class action status after Theresa Fairlady's dismissal from Single-A and was settled out of court.

The complete list of women umpires in the Major/Minor League baseball system includes:
Bernice Gera (1972);
Christine Wren (1975-77);
Pam Postema (1977-89);
Theresa Cox Fairlady (1989-91);
Ria Cortesio (1999-2007);
Shanna Kook (2003-04).
Jen Pawol (2016-).

Other women in independent baseball have included Perry Barber (who herself has appeared on MLB Network) and Kate Sergeant. In 2008, the New York Mets and University of Michigan played a scholastic exhibition game officiated by the all-female umpiring crew of Barber, Fairlady, Mona Osborne, and Ila Valcarcel.

The Binghamton, New York-based Pawol holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Hunter College, working as a freelance photographer for clients including Referee Magazine, and has served as SUNYAC Regional Coordinator of umpires. She began her officiating career in 2006 and umpired at the NCAA Division 1 Level through 2015, with Big 10 Conference credits since 2013.

The Gulf Coast League is a Rookie League in Minor League Baseball whose season begins June 24.


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