Meet Gift Ngoepe, MLB’s First African-Born Player
The Pittsburgh Pirates have nearly a half dozen international players on their current roster. However, Gift Ngoepe made history when he made his debut for the club Wednesday night.
When Ngoepe came into the fourth inning to play second base against the Cubs, he became the first ever player from the continent of Africa to play in a Major League Baseball game. Nearly 150 years of professional baseball, and he’s the first.
To make his story even more inspiring, the South African-born native started playing in the Pirates’ minor league system back in 2008, taking him nearly a decade to reach the pinnacle of his career.
And of course, because this is a future Disney movie, he got a base hit in his first ever MLB at-bat.
Save that ball! pic.twitter.com/eLW0Osfegy
— MLB (@MLB) April 27, 2017
He ended the game going 1-2 with a walk. Here are some of the inspiring words Ngoepe had to say in the locker room after the 6-5 win.
“It means that it doesn’t matter where you come from. No matter where you are or who you are, you can still make it no matter what country.” pic.twitter.com/OoXPj2szvv
— Pirates (@Pirates) April 26, 2017
These reporters/broadcasters also had some solid perspective they shared on Twitter:
The Pirates briefly called up Dovydas Neverauskas earlier this week, who, after pitching two innings, became the first Lithuanian-born player to play in an MLB game.
You can read more about Ngoepe and his back story on this article from S.I. from 2009.
Josh Helmuth is the editor of Crave Sports.