HOUSTON — Sara Goodrum’s inspiration to work in sports began at a young age, when she would consume as much sports on television as she could and admire the women who were covering them. While there weren’t a lot of women in prominent roles with teams at that time, having women help bring sports to life gave her encouragement.
Fast-forward more than a decade and Goodrum has certainly carved her own path in baseball. On Jan. 5, she was hired to be the Astros’ player development director, where she’ll report to assistant general manager for player development Pete Putila. She joins the Astros from the Brewers, who promoted her from their sports science department a year ago to be their Minor League hitting coordinator. Goodrum was believed to be the first woman to hold that job.
“I was always exposed to seeing women in sports, and I think that that's been such a huge driving factor of me being able to have confidence and belief [that] this is normal for me, because I grew up around sports,” she said. “I love sports. This is the industry I want to work in, so the more exposure, the better. It's exciting to continue to see growth in that area.”
Goodrum’s position with the Astros makes her one of the highest-ranking women in baseball, joining a group that includes Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Giants Major League coach Alyssa Nakken, Yankees Low-A Tampa manager Rachel Balkovec, White Sox director of Minor League operations Jasmine Dunston, Red Sox Double-A player development coach Katie Krall and Orioles executive Eve Rosenbaum.
“It's kind of crazy because sometimes you get so caught up in the job and the day to day, and sometimes you need to figure that out and see the bigger picture and what's going on,” Goodrum said. “I think, in general, across the sports industry — whether it's baseball, football, basketball — there's a lot of positive things happening and that just, in general, excites me.
“I just found that when you get in a room with people that think differently and provide different views and perspectives — regardless of gender, race, or any of those matters — you can do some really special things.”
Goodrum, who played Division I softball at the University of Oregon before earning a master’s degree in exercise and sports science from the University of Utah, had an extensive portfolio in her most recent job with the Brewers. She oversaw the hitting program throughout the organization, managed hitting coaches at the team’s affiliates and traveled around the system to assist in player instruction, including a stint with the big league club in Milwaukee at the end of the regular season.
In her role with the Astros, Goodrum oversees all player development staff and collaborates with coordinators on the core duties of the recruiting, hiring and development of the staff. She also is spearheading the formation and execution of coaching philosophies, as well as the formation and execution of the player development goal process.
“This has been a really big transition for me,” she said. “At times, definitely overwhelming but also exciting. So a lot of the job right now is getting to know people, getting to know how the organization operates, and I'm going to continue to do that moving forward. Every day I wake up right now and it's a new day for me where I'm learning something new, and that's going to continue throughout the season.”
Goodrum has long-term goals and dreams in the game of baseball, but for now she is focused on being a positive influence on the Astros.
“I truly believe that good things happen as you continue to do that and work hard,” she said.
'You can do some really special things': Sara Goodrum ready for next step with Astros – MLB.com