Randburg’s Gift to Major League Baseball

Gift Ngoepe with his brother, Victor, who visited Ngoepe when he made his Major League debut. Victor plays in America's Minor League. Photo: Supplied

 

Randburg’s own Gift Ngoepe has fulfilled his dream of playing Major League Baseball.

Glen Gillman, coach at Randburg Mets Baseball Club, where Ngoepe played before going to America, described Ngoepe as a great athlete who always achieved a level of play which few players could match.

Ngoepe climbed to the highest level of international baseball when he made his debut as the first African player in Major League Baseball.

He was recalled from the Indianapolis Indians in Minor League Baseball to Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball on 26 April. He made his debut in Major League for the Pirates against the Chicago Cubs, after nine years of perseverance.

Read: Randburg Mets to the Major League 

Gillman said Ngoepe had made the Gauteng provincial squads every year from when he was young and dreamt of playing the sport in the United States. Besides playing for the Gauteng A side each year at the National baseball championship, he played for South Africa in the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier in Australia.

Gillman said Ngoepe only joined the Randburg Mets when he was well on his way to becoming a superstar.

“Coaches who were involved in his development all agree that he showed potential from an early age,” Gillman said.

Ngoepe lived at the club with his mother and two brothers. His mother, Maureen, was a clubhouse attendant and was given a place to live at the club with her family.

“It is with extreme pride that we as a club can celebrate his achievements today,” added Gillman.

He said the level of support and pride for Ngoepe was massive from not only their club but also all other clubs and associations who have been involved in his development and progress through the years.

The South African Baseball Union (Sabu) applauded Ngoepe and indicated that they were very proud of his accomplishments to date and will continue to his career and of other South African prospects.

Ngoepe’s younger brother Victor has also signed a Minor League Baseball contract with the Gulf Coast League Pirates, a Pittsburg Pirates minor league affiliate.

“[Sabu] and its African counterparts are strategically set to grow baseball as Gift so eloquently said in his interview after the game [Pirates versus Chicago Cubs], ‘It doesn’t matter where you come from, no matter who you are, you can still make it no matter what country you come from,’ ” said Sabu president Marc Moreau.

Also read: The Randburg Mets Baseball Club and Edenvale Imps play a colossal U12 baseball match

Details: Randburg Mets, glen.gillman.44@gmail.com; South African Baseball Union, 011 622 4808.

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  AUTHOR
Phathu Luvhengo
Journalist

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