Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, a Minnesota native and Hamline University graduate, became just the second woman hired to umpire professional baseball since 2007 after signing a minor league contract last week.
Charlesworth-Seiler will be assigned to the Gulf Coast League in Florida, home of the Twins Rookie affiliate. She will be just the second woman to umpire in the league since 1978, however, this is the second consecutive year a woman has been hired to ump affiliated baseball.
Charlesworth-Seiler earned the opportunity after standing out at the Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy in Vero Beach, Fla., at Historic Dodgertown in January. She was the only woman among more than 80 men enrolled at the academy for aspiring professional umpires.
Only seven other women have umpired in an affiliated league. Jen Pawol debuted in the Gulf Coast League last summer and will climb to short-season Class A this season. Pam Postema (1977-1989) advanced to umpire Triple-A and was the first woman to umpire a big league spring training game.
Perry Barber, a longtime female umpire and instructor, celebrated the hire on her Facebook page calling it a “historic move.”
“Minor League Baseball has hired Emma Charlesworth-Seiler to umpire in the Gulf Coast League in Florida this summer, the second consecutive year in which a woman has been promoted into the ranks of professional umpires,” Barber wrote. “THAT has never happened before in the history of pro ball in this country, and it's a promising omen of good things to come. Congratulations to Emma, who has worked so hard, been such a great addition to my Baseball For All umpiring crews the last few years, and been such an apt student, for her assignment to the GCL, which has been the birthplace and proving ground of many a major league umpire's career. Emma, make it one more! We are rooting for you!!!!
“Congratulations to Emma, Minor League Baseball, and her loving family, especially proud dad Scott Charlesworth-Seiler.”
Charlesworth-Seiler has umpired in leagues throughout the Twin Cities since 2014, according to her LinkedIn page. Last year, she umpired in Australia for the New South Wales Baseball Umpire Association. She also was a scorer for the St. Paul Saints, a community outreach intern for Baseball For All, and is a member of The Halsey Hall Chapter of The Society for American Baseball Research.
In October 2015, Charlesworth-Seiler pitched two games in the Peach Orchard Classic for the Great Lakes Lightning, a women's baseball team that competes in tournaments across the United States. The team won both games she pitched.
Charlesworth-Seiler has been a fan of baseball since she was in second grade, according to the Treasure Coast Newspapers in Florida. The article featuring the MiLB umpiring academy wrote “Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, from Minnesota, became interested in baseball by writing a second-grade report on Dodger Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Her love of baseball was immediate. She played in an international tournament in South Korea, and recently played in a women’s baseball league in Australia, on the Penrith Panthers Baseball Club team.”
Scott Charlesworth-Seiler, Emma’s father, wrote on Facebook Saturday, “IT IS NOW OFFICIAL! Emma has signed the papers to be an employee of Minor League Baseball! After all her training, she begins umpiring the games of professional athletes! Her assignment is to the Gulf Coast League in Florida. The Gulf Coast League is where many major league umpires’ careers have begun!”
History! Emma Charlesworth is the 2nd woman hired in consecutive years to umpire pro ball. She'll be in the Gulf Coast League this summer. pic.twitter.com/3ck8VJXzj1— Perry Barber (@perrybarber) May 7, 2017
Celebrating women in baseball. Tonight's umpire is Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, who recently completed the #MiLB Umpire Academy, held at HDT. pic.twitter.com/YnH5H2nVvr— Historic Dodgertown (@HistDodgertown) March 8, 2017