Cleveland Heights native and MLB's first woman coach inspires wi - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Cleveland Heights native and MLB's first woman coach inspires with a lifetime spent breaking barriers

Justine Siegal, MLB's first woman coach, discusses her path to the big leagues. (Source: AP Images) Justine Siegal, MLB's first woman coach, discusses her path to the big leagues. (Source: AP Images)
CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) -

"My dream was to become a Cleveland Indian," said Justine Siegal.

While that didn't come to fruition, her drive eventually led the Cleveland Heights native to become Major League Baseball's first female coach.

But this mother's mission didn't end there. Siegal also made history by being the first woman to throw batting practice for the Indians and several other MLB teams.

"I think I'm proof that anything's possible, and I think that every boy and girl should know that just take away the gender stereotypes. We don't need them. Just follow your dreams," expressed Siegal.

Siegal shared her inspirational journey with more than 500 women attending the Women's Leadership Conference at Cleveland's Intercontinental Hotel.

She says her path to success started when she was a little girl, when a coach told her that girls only play softball, not baseball. It was then that she made it her mission to never quit.

"It was incredibly difficult to follow my dream and to break barriers of things that people never had never seen before. But once you're there it's totally worth it," sais Siegal.      

Worth the hard work and determination. With a PHD in sports psychology, Siegal also has eigh MLB jerseys in Coopertown's Baseball Hall of Fame.

She even started a nonprofit called "Baseball for All," giving girls the opportunity to play and coach the game.

Women's Conference Founder Robin Doerschuk says Siegal is a perfect image of success.

"The energy that you feel by creating a space like this, the women together, you can feel that they're making a movement and they're truly trying to push their careers forward," explained Robin Doerschuk.

As for Siegal, she's honored to make history but says it's more important to build a better future for the next generation.

Siegal says she plans to bring her nonprofit organization to Cleveland soon. So that more girls here get an opportunity to "play ball." As for the Indians, she says she is glad they ended their winning streak only because she doesn't want them to peak before the playoffs start.

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