Houston Astros’ Sara Goodrum on all-sports background, Oregon softball star and journey to player development role

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Sara Goodrum made national headlines when the Houston Astros hired her as 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 love sports. I would score at baseball games. My father took me with him every year. We went to the baseball stadiums together. It is still something special for us today.”

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Sara grew up in the 1990s and was a standout softball player, having dabbled in a variety of sports including gymnastics, tennis and soccer. She said her parents encouraged her to try anything.

“I give my parents a lot of testimony for just raising me with that kind of mindset and being able to support me in whatever 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 this.’ It was always like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to find a way to support it.’”

Watching the Diamondbacks win the World Series helped make baseball their favorite sport.

“I was 8 years old when they won the World Series in 2001. Obviously, when your hometown team wins like that, you’re more attracted to it,” Goodrum said.

And Luis Gonzales, a player who happened to start his career with the Astros, was her favorite player.

“He was left-handed. He was really good. I’m left-handed. He played outfield. I played or wanted to play outfield,” Goodrum said.

Her high school team was full of talent and won national recognition. She signed on as a walk-on for Oregon. Being too small, she had to work hard to develop and earn playtime.

“To this day I’m still going through it (the feeling), I have to prove myself,” Goodrum said. “I need to understand the value I offer to the organization. And that perspective really grew when I was with Oregon.”

Goodrum studied physiology and began paying close attention to it when training, hoping to gain an athletic advantage.

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“It’s like an intellectual curiosity for me that just sitting there and constantly thinking about how my body is moving and how that’s affecting my performance has really helped me in my career,” said Goodrum.

This particular interest in mechanics led her to intern with a graduate student at the Oregon Sports Clinic.

“We found a mutual interest in baseball, so we always joked and talked about baseball,” Goodrum said.

Later, this graduate student went to the Milwaukee Brewers and asked Sarah to join him there.

“One of the most important things to have is someone who cares about you and someone who sees the greatness in you that sometimes you don’t always see in yourself,” Goodrum said. “And they help you see the greatness in yourself.”

At the Brewers, Goodrum went from intern to her batting coordinator, a breakthrough role for a woman.

“I’ve never felt anything different than probably every other new person that comes into an environment that they’re new to,” Goodrum said.

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

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

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Dais Johnston

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