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Pro baseball: It's women's work

She's one of four female general managers in professional baseball.

That fact sets Suzanne Daniel of the Southern Oregon Timberjacks apartfrom most of her peers.

Daniel, 37, works in a distinctly male world. And she loves it.

At her post with the Timberjacks, she oversees the entire business operationand supervises all employees other than players and coaches. The baseballpart of the operation is supervised by officials of the Oakland Athletics,the Timberjacks' major league parent team.

This is what I want to do the rest of my life, says Daniel.

She sampled other ways to earn a living, but they didn't fulfill herprofessionally.

I found it, says Daniel. I love what I do. Right now,I wouldn't want to have to decide whether I would take a promotion, if onecame. I want to stay right here and do this.

She's amazed there are only four women GMs.

I guess that works to my advantage, says Daniel. Itmeans other professional teams are probably going to be looking for womento be general managers.

Daniel, who grew up in Salem, didn't even like baseball as a young girl.But she warmed up to the sport when she started collecting baseball cardsand other memorabilia about 15 years ago.

Daniel's favorite player at that time was pitcher Nolan Ryan.

I have some very valuable Ryan cards in my collection and a bunchof others, she says. Plus, I have most of the Timberjacks cards.A lot of those guys will end up in the major leagues before too long.

Hopefully, they will help pay for college (for her two children)some day, says Daniel.

Daniel's interest in baseball grew in 1992 when she moved to Medfordseeking an improved lifestyle for her family and a new job. She sold a carpet-cleaningbusiness in Las Vegas and sought a place to live that would allow her children,16-year-old Amber and 14-year-old Chris, to grow up in a good area.

She's happy with her choice.

I love it here, she says. I wanted to move to a townwith better weather than they get up north (in the Willamette Valley) anda place where my kids could get a good education and be happy. We foundall of that.

Daniel knows her performance as GM could pave the way to better opportunitiesin pro baseball.

I'm unique because I'm a woman in a man's world, she says.I might have a chance to be more employable as a woman, but I haveto do a good job and prove myself first.

Daniel held down a job selling insurance in Salem before she moved toLas Vegas to purchase her carpet-cleaning business.

I did that for six years, and did pretty well, she says.But after six years, I wanted more out of life. That's why I'm here.

Daniel responded to a Timberjacks' advertisement for a telemarketingspecialist in 1992. She earned the job and also did odd jobs at Miles Fieldduring games that season.

After three years, she was promoted to assistant general manager. A yearlater, she replaced Bill Courtney as the GM.

Suzanne has earned everything she has gotten, says Timberjackspresident and part-owner Fred Herrmann. It wasn't given to her.

She's a good person and she knows what she's doing. She has goodideas and I let her use them. I still oversee, but I let her make most ofthe calls, with my approval, of course.

Says Daniel: Fred and I are two completely different animals interms of how we do things. But he has been real good about letting me domy own thing.

I can usually do what I want unless I feel I need to ask Fred forhelp. I know where the line is and that's when I go to him. There have beentimes when he didn't agree with what I wanted to do. He came to me onceand said he wouldn't do something the way I was doing it, but he said hewas going to let me do it anyway.

Daniel says her true address should probably be the club office at MilesField, but it's officially a home on the Rogue River that she rents fromHerrmann.

At home, she has her two children, a pig and two lizards.

It's real cozy around home, she says. We cuddle theanimals like they are people.

In the office, Daniel says she works hard to have a good relationshipwith the employees under her.

I never ask any of them to do anything that I haven't done,she says. I cleaned the bathrooms, I know where the grease is on thewalls in the concession. I've painted all of those walls. I've raked thedirt on the field.

Daniel says her ultimate dream would be to own and manage a minor leaguebaseball franchise.

If I hit the lottery, I'd buy a minor league team, says Daniel.Not a major league team because I like being the hands-on kind ofmanager you can be in the minor leagues.

Working 14 hours a day can be fun, according to Daniel.

Look where we work, she says. It's the ballpark. Thatmeans baseball and fun.

I consider myself a low-maintenance employee as the boss. I usegood common sense and we all have a good time in the office or out in theballpark. We'd better have a good time when we are working 14 hours a day.

Suzanne Daniel, one of the few women general managers in all of pro baseball, spends as many as 14 hours a day working at Miles Field. - Photo by Andy Atkinson</P