2019 Trailblazer Of The Year Award: Jean Afterman
On Dec. 7, 2001, the Yankees named Jean Afterman to replace Kim Ng as Brian Cashman’s assistant general manager. Eighteen years later Baseball America is honoring the dynamic Afterman with its first-ever Trailblazer Award.
“If I am a trailblazer, I hope I have blazed a trail others will follow,” Afterman said when informed she was being honored. “I hope a lot more women will work in baseball operations.”
According to Afterman, who had senior vice president added to her title in 2012, her bosses are also trailblazers.
“I don’t think the Yankees get as much credit as they should get. Brian Cashman and (former owner) George Steinbrenner, they hired not one but two females as assistant GMs,” Afterman said.
Managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner and Cashman spoke glowingly of the high-energy Afterman.
“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,” Steinbrenner said. “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.”
According to Cashman, the mega-money contracts the Yankees offer players—as well as the deals that don’t attract the same attention—start on Afterman’s desk.
Prior to joining the Yankees, Afterman managed her legal practice that provided athletic representation and specialized in arbitration proceedings and was the general counsel at KDN Sports Inc., where she handled business and legal affairs for Japanese pitchers Hideki Irabu and Hideo Nomo plus others.
“She is unbelievable in her leadership and handling people,” Cashman said. “She is extremely brilliant. She holds people accountable to do their job and has been a game-changer for the Yankees.”
Among the plethora of outside interests, Afterman was appointed in 2015 to the advisory committee that oversees Major League Baseball’s commissioner front office and field staff diversity pipeline program.