Katie Krall brings history to Cooperstown

Part of the HOFVISITS series
Written by: Evan Gerike

Katie Krall was nervous when she was told to coach first base on April 30.

She knew it was the first time she’d be coaching first. What she didn’t realize was that it was the first time any woman had coached on the field at the Double-A level.

After already making history with the Red Sox, who became the first team with two female coaches when they hired Krall, she wasn’t tracking the history.

“It was the moment of, I recognize this hasn’t happened before, but not ‘Oh wow, this is a special moment,’” Krall said.

In her visit to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on July 5, Krall donated the helmet she wore during her first time coaching on the field with the Portland Sea Dogs.

Katie Krall, center, poses with Hall of Fame President Josh Rawitch, left, and curator Gabrielle Augustine after donating a helmet she wore with the Portland Sea Dogs to the Museum. (Milo Stewart Jr./National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum)

“To be a part of it (the Museum), it’s so meaningful,” Krall said. “I remember saying to my mom that someday I want to be in the Hall of Fame. Now I am in some ways.”

Krall’s baseball journey took a detour through Google before arriving at the Hall of Fame.

Krall joined Google's global strategy team after two years with the Cincinnati Reds. She wanted to learn more analytics, then return to baseball to use them. She said she learned the importance of intentionally building a culture, too.

The return was quicker than she imagined.

Shortly after leaving the Reds, Krall was already getting calls from other teams. After two months at Google she was offered a job as the player development coach for the Red Sox’s Double-A team in Portland, Maine.

Krall recognized the opportunity as a risk, one she could have avoided taking by accepting a role in another team’s front office.

“After Google, I feel like I had the confidence to make a choice that didn’t seem safe,” Krall said.

The importance of her role as a woman in sports isn’t lost on her. Krall said while her greatest value to the Red Sox comes from looking at numbers in the dugout, she knows it’s powerful to see someone in a ponytail at first base. Players and coaches have been respectful to her, too.

When someone does push back against her or calls her “the girl who does the stats,” Krall reminds herself she was hired for a reason and that her job is valuable. Bianca Smith, the first female coach on the Red Sox, gave Krall some advice for dealing with the less-than-respectful fans.

“Don’t let it get to you,” Krall remembers Smith telling her. “Be who you know you are.”

Krall got into baseball early on. Her godfather was the late longtime Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek and her mom worked on the board of the Chicago White Sox, where Krall first got insights into the role of the front office.

In seventh grade she read “Moneyball” and caught onto analytics. While working as a baseball operations analyst with the Reds, she said her job was that of the movie character Jonah Hill.

In 2017, when Krall was driving out to the Cape Cod League, she stopped at the Hall of Fame for the first time. That visit, she said, ushered in a new phase of her career in baseball.

Five years later, Krall can easily see herself spending the rest of her life in baseball, whether as a manager or in the front office. Either way, a part of Krall will now permanently reside in baseball history at the Museum.

“Someday I could have a granddaughter who looks at that helmet, puts gloves on and takes a photo with it,” Krall said. “I love that idea.”

Evan Gerike is the 2022 public relations intern in the Hall of Fame’s Frank and Peggy Steele Internship Program for Youth Leadership Development

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Part of the HOFVISITS series