Sara Goodrum's journey to MLB player development director role sparked by former Astro Luis Gonzales

Goodrum was a softball standout despite having to walk on at Oregon. She went on to work with the Brewers.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Sara Goodrum, Astros' player development director, talks about her journey to the MLB, from her all-sport beginnings to her barrier-breaking hiring.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Sara Goodrum made national headlines when the Houston Astros hired her as their player development director. She oversees approximately 40 coaches and 200 players in the Astros minor league system in Texas, North Carolina, Florida and the Dominican Republic.

"I'll be honest, I never said I wanted to work in Major League Baseball," Goodrum said. "But I always knew that I loved sports. I would go keep score at baseball games. My dad would take me every year. We would go to the ballparks together. It's a special thing for us even to this day."

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Growing up in the 1990s, Sara was a softball standout after trying her hand at an array of sports, including gymnastics, tennis, and soccer. She said her parents encouraged her to try it all.

"I give a ton of testament to my parents for just being able to raise me with that type of mindset and support me in anything I wanted to do," Goodrum said. "It was like, 'I want to do this.' And it was never like, 'I don't know if you should do that.' It was always like, 'Yes, we'll find a way to support it.'"

Watching the Diamondbacks win the World Series helped elevate baseball as her favorite sport.

"I was 8 years old when they won the World Series in 2001. When your hometown team wins like that, you obviously are going to have more of an attraction to it," Goodrum said.

And Luis Gonzales, a player who coincidentally began his career with the Astros, was her favorite player.

"He was a left-handed hitter. He was really good. I'm left handed. He played the outfield. I played the outfield or wanted to play the outfield," Goodrum said.

Her high school team was stacked with talent and won national acclaim. She committed to Oregon as a walk-on. Being undersized, she had to work hard to develop and earn playing time.

"Even to this day, I still go through it (feeling) I have to prove myself," Goodrum said. "I have to understand the value that I provide to the organization. And that perspective really grew when I was at Oregon."

Goodrum majored in physiology and started paying close attention as she trained, hoping to give herself an athletic advantage.

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"It is just like an intellectual curiosity for me that I feel like has really helped me in my career to just sit there and constantly be thinking about how my body's moving and how does that impact my performance," Goodrum said.

That particular interest in mechanics led her to an internship with a doctoral student at the sports clinic in Oregon.

"We found common interest in baseball, so we would always joke and talk about baseball," Goodrum said.

Later, that doctoral student went to work for the Milwaukee Brewers and asked Sarah to join him there.

"One of the most important things to have is someone that's advocating for you and someone that sees greatness in you that you sometimes don't always see in yourself, " Goodrum said. "And they help you learn to see the greatness in yourself."

At the Brewers, Goodrum went from being an intern to their hitting coordinator, a trailblazing role for a woman.

"I've never felt anything different than probably any other new individual that comes into an environment that they're new in," Goodrum said.

Six seasons later, the Astros called and she's become part of a wave of women breaking barriers in Major League Baseball. She says it's exciting to be a part of.

"I can call anyone up, but it's always special when you start to see other women start to rise because they're qualified and they're good people and they're really good at what they do, " Goodrum said. "I never want to have to sit here and say I wasn't able to be in a position because of my gender. And I'm so thankful just for my experiences and working in baseball with the Brewers and the Astros that I've never had to feel like that. And I've felt fully supported by those organizations to be in the roles that I'm in and continue to contribute helping an organization."

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