Astros Hire 1st Female MLB StrengthTrainer

According to this Tweet from Mark Berman of Channel 26 in Houston, the Houston Astros have hired the first female strength and conditioning trainer in MLB history:

Her name is Rachel Balkovec. Here’s how Brian McTaggart describes her in his linked column at

“Balkovec, 28, was a catcher at the University of New Mexico and received her master’s degree in sports administration from LSU, where she served as a graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach. A recommendation got her the position with the Cardinals, and she later was the volunteer strength and conditioning coach with Arizona State. She spent the previous two years with the Cardinals as their Minor League strength and conditioning coordinator.

“With the Astros, she’ll work as the strength and conditioning coach for their Gulf Coast League affiliate and will travel to the team’s academy in the Dominican Republic six or seven times a year to supervise the three strength coaches that are down there. And she’ll be blazing a trail along the way.”

~ Brian McTaggart / | | 4:15 PM ET, Monday, 2/29/2016.

Balkovec achieved her gender break-in status with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 and now joins the Astros to help their players and minor league prospects learn about their own needs for nutrition and strength exercising programs that work best for athletes with baseball ambitions. We are simply happy to report that another unspoken barrier to female participation in the preparation of players for action has now been removed and that Houston is acting in support of the move already started by the Cardinals.

Rachel Balkovec in the weight room as a Cardinals Employee.

Rachel Balkovec in the weight room as a Cardinals Employee.

Let’s be clear about what we are applauding. We are not applauding the creation of jobs in baseball for the sake of making room for women. We are applauding the hiring of women for jobs that need to be done by whomever has the qualifications to do them, regardless of gender.

Forty years ago, except for a few pioneers like the wonderful Anita Martini of Galveston, there were no female sports reporters or broadcasters until people like Anita showed that up to be a mere sexist block to jobs that any qualified woman could also do. In 1974, it was Anita Martini, with help from Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and then Dodgers outfielder Jimmy Wynn who broke the barrier on females from entering the clubhouse for post game interviews with players. It happened on a late season Dodgers trip to the Astrodome when Lasorda allowed Martini into the Dodgers’ visitor clubhouse at the Dome with the male reporters after the game. In so doing, the open door for women reporters to do their jobs after games on the same level as men was on its way to becoming the norm that no longer bats eyes or raises eyebrows in 2016.

Here’s one article I found about Rachel Balkovec’s work with the Cardinals:

Here’s another, a Q&A session with Ms. Balkovec:

Rachel Balkovec Getting Ready to Go to Bat for the Astros!

Rachel Balkovec
Getting Ready to Go to Bat for the Astros!

Welcome to Houston, Rachel Belkovec. ~ We Astros fans also welcome whatever you may be able to teach our players and prospects what they need to do for the sake of becoming even more fit for the big leagues and also reaching and winning the World Series.

Thanks again to Darrell Pittman for calling this hiring to our attention. It is a newsworthy step in the right direction as a move earned by this talented young woman’s ability and not a hiring by political entitlement.


 eagle-0range Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas



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