Baseball has came a long way from the days of segregation and inequality as icons like Jackie Robinson were able to break down barriers. Recently, another huge milestone was reached as the sport is in the process of breaking higher grounds.
Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates did something no other MLB franchise was able to do. They have called up Gift Ngoepe, a 27-year-old infielder who is from South Africa. With this call up, Ngoepe becomes the first African-born player to suit up for a MLB team. Gift was originally signed by the Pirates in 2008 out of a MLB academy in Italy. Before he was in Italy, Gift’s mom was a flight attendant for a South African baseball club Randburg Mets.
The MLB have a plenty of call ups from a variety of countries such as Japan, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Australia. This call-up is considered groundbreaking considering the fact that baseball is one of the least dominant sports in the African countries. But fans, don’t think that the Pirates signed this for publicity. Gift is a solid prospect who hit .224 with a .647 OPS in 138 games across parts of three seasons at Class AAA before his promotion.