Home plate umpire Jen Pawol takes up her position during...

Home plate umpire Jen Pawol takes up her position during the first inning of a spring training game between the Houston Astros and Miami Marlins on March 10 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jen Pawol  officially is one phone call away from becoming the first woman umpire in MLB history.

Pawol, a former Hoftstra softball star, has earned the title of Triple-A crew chief for the upcoming season and also has been placed on the MLB call-up list, according to multiple sources. That was the last hurdle separating her from breaking through to the big leagues, and Pawol, 47, apparently passed her Grapefruit League audition, paving the way for this dream shot.

Pawol was among 24 minor-league umpires assigned to fill in for MLB spring training. Last year, MLB used 26 umps from the minors for spring training and 21 of them saw time in the majors as call-ups because of injuries or vacation (MLB has a standard roster of 76 umpires for the regular season).

“She’s an outstanding umpire, an outstanding person, and she’s getting this opportunity because she’s earned it,” said Lance Barksdale, a 20-year veteran who worked with Pawol in her February spring training debut. “But she has to compete against all the other people that are given this opportunity also.”

Pawol succeeded again, just as she had at every other level since first attending an MLB umpiring tryout camp in 2015. The NBA has employed women referees since 1997. The NFL had its first female on-field official in 2015.

“It’s in my DNA,” Pawol said last month. “Once I started umpiring, I was like, this is for me. I can’t explain it. It’s just in my DNA.”

More MLB news


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months