Oakland Athletics make history with latest broadcast hire

Oakland's Jenny Canvar opens door for women to break into sports broadcasting

Nevada v New Mexico
Nevada v New Mexico / Sam Wasson/GettyImages

The Oakland Athletics made a move last week that would make the late and former owner Charlie Finley proud.

Finley was always known as an innovator in the game. Now, his beloved Athletics have hired the first primary female play-by-play announcer in baseball history. There have been other women to serve as analysts, sideline reporters and announcers, but Cavnar is the first woman to get a full-time gig in Major League Baseball. Appropriately, she was featured Friday morning on TODAY.

Oakland A's Jenny Cavnar ascends to play-by-play role

Baseball's top female baseball personality appeared on the TODAY show Friday morning with Hoda Kotb, and was happy that she reached the summit of her profession, but even happier for what could become of women in sports broadcasting in the future.

Cavnar will be at the top of the mountain of female sports broadcasters. Other women in sports broadcasting include New York Yankees radio analyst Suzyn Waldman, Melanie Newman, an analyst for the Baltimore Orioles, and Jessica Mendoza, who pulls double duty by working for ESPN and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Cavnar will be partners with former Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden, who will serve as her color analyst on the broadcasts for NBC Sports California.

""The next generation of girls is going to have something to look at, that there's a lot of jobs in sports. We're chipping away...at just kind of opening that door for the next generation and really having the idea that representation matters."

Jenny Cavnar, on TODAY

Cavnar, a mother of two, grew up with a father who coached baseball, and she understands the impact that this will have on the game and on women who want to venture into sports broadcasting.

""I feel most special when a dad comes up to me and says 'I'm sharing this with my girls.' because I grew up with a dad that was a baseball coach and we shared sports, so that means a ton." "

Jenny Cavnar on TODAY

The new announcer for the Athletics knows that others have been breaking down barriers for women in sports, and that she is not alone in accomplishing big things.

""I feel so grateful for the champions in my work life who have pushed me here. It's not traditional, by a play-by-play voice. I get it. It's not going to sound traditional and I don't want to. I just want to be myself when I get in there.""

Jenny Cavnar on TODAY

When Cavnar was told that she got the job, she reacted in a typical fashion for someone who got the ultimate job that they wanted. She was thrilled.

""It's a dream come true to join the broadcast team for the Oakland A's and their rich baseball history. I'm excited to start my 18th season as a major league broadcaster with my good friend, Dallas Braden, and share our experiences with the loyal fans of the Athletics as we go on this ride together.""

Jenny Canvar, NBC Sports Bay Area

She broke into the business of sports journalism in 2007 when she got a job covering the San Diego Padres. Before long, she was returning to her Colorado roots to serve as a sideline reporter for the hometown Rockies.

Braden sounded pleased as punch when he heard that Cavnar got hired. He is looking forward to working with her.

""I could not be more honored to sit next to the first woman in baseball history to assume the role of play-by-play announcer. It's a great day for baseball. It's a great day for women in baseball.""

Dallas Braden, in a Twitter video

Colorado Governor Jared Polis even took time to recognize one of his constituents and her great achievement. He congratulated her on Twitter and said she was making history.

The Rockies also took to Twitter to post their congratulations as well. They also thanked her for her 12 years of service to the organization.

Now, her story begins anew in the spotlight. Well-deserved.