NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 05: Assistant General Manager Jean Afterman listens to catcher Brian McCann speak during his introductory press conference at Yankee Stadium on December 5, 2013 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

While Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner steal all the attention, it’s about time the New York Yankees are recognized for their powerhouse executive, Jean Afterman.

Allison Case

It’s one small step for the sport of baseball. Oh, who are we kidding? This is one giant step for women in the sports industry.

On a blustery, snowy Monday in the majority of New York state, Baseball American announced the inaugural winner of their Trailblazer of the Year award as New York Yankees’ assistant general manager and senior vice president, Jean Afterman.

What an honor for Afterman, who took on the role of assistant general manager back in 2001 before adding the senior vice president title back in 2012. Afterman has played a significant role in the Yankees organization for several years, though she didn’t start out in the baseball world.

Afterman began her career as a lawyer and stumbled into a role with the Yankees after working alongside Don Nomura. Afterman became a pioneer in assisting Japanese players’ entrances into the major leagues, including Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui.

Afterman’s influence rippled across baseball. Some have even said that Jean Afterman is the primary candidate to be the first female general manager in the history of baseball. This comes after the Yankees just announced the hiring of Rachel Balkovec as a hitting coach in their organization.

In a statement to Baseball America, Hal Steinbrenner said, “Jean has been an essential member of the Yankees’ baseball operations department for nearly two decades, having engineered the logistics behind some of our most complicated and high-profile acquisitions and deals. A vocal and trusted leader within our organization, Jean’s formidable reputation within our sport is well earned. Her engaging personality, bulldog tenacity and top-notch legal expertise combine to make her a unique talent who we have been proud to have on our side all these years.”

That is a glowing endorsement coming from one of the toughest front offices in the sport.

Afterman has had her hand in several dealings at the Yankees office, including some huge money contracts the Yankees offer players, according to Brian Cashman per Baseball America.

Jean Afterman has not been at the forefront of the sports media world, but it’s about time she is rightfully recognized for her hard work over the years within this dominant organization.

“If I am a trailblazer, I hope I have blazed a trail others will follow,” Afterman told Baseball America. “I hope a lot more women will work in baseball operations.”

So do we, Jean. So do we.

Jean Afterman is finally receiving much-deserved attention. Congratulations to a dynamic trailblazer on her well-earned award.

Allison is just a girl with an enormous passion for the game of baseball and the written word. Based in Upstate New York, her life-long relationship with the New York Yankees is something that she developed through close relationships with her mother and grandfather. An aspiring sports writer, she graduated with a journalism degree and is finding places to share her excitement about the sporting world and how it affects us all.