Gift Ngoepe has proved that hard work pays off and dreams really do come true! He has become the first South African born baseball player to enter the Major Leagues.
Gift was born in Polokwane but has lived in America for the last few years. He moved there to pursue a professional baseball career and has succeeded! Gift was called up from a minor league affiliate in Indianapolis to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gift is the first South African to be called up to play in Major League Baseball, making history and South Africa really proud! His hard work has paid off and become a massive source of inspiration to the South African baseball community. He is being called ‘the Gift of Africa’.
“It means a lot to people back home. I’ve been getting messages all day from my friends and family, people that always supported me back home… It means that it doesn’t matter where you come from – no matter where you are or who you are…” – Gift Ngoepe
Gift doesn’t only represent South Africa, he is a role model for the entire African continent by being the first African-born player to enter the majors. His team mate reportedly said that Gift “represented 1.62 billion people” while his team screamed “For the Motherland!”
He has been playing Baseball in America for the last nine years, he signed his contract in October 2008. When his moment finally arrived he did his nation proud and apparently was fighting back the tears at the end of the game.
“I was holding it back. I was like, ‘You know what, you’re in the big leagues. You’ve got to be a big guy.’”
You can watch his first hit below and see what he says about his fans back home.
South Africa's Gift Ngoepe becomes the first African in baseball's major leagues– and gets first hit pic.twitter.com/hR6Kp94NPQ
— Geoffrey York (@geoffreyyork) April 27, 2017