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History in the Making

The MLB has drafted its first African-born player, and proves that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

Gift Ngoepe is the first African-born player in the MLB, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is making South Africa proud!

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gift Ngoepe is the first African-born player in the MLB, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is making South Africa proud!

Haley Jones, Staff

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Although the MLB integrated long ago, only 25% of players are originally from outside the US, and none were from Africa. Until now. Meet Gift Ngoepe, Pittsburgh Pirates first player born in Africa. He was born in South Africa, in a small town called Randburg. He grew up playing baseball his whole life, but just entered the professional scene.

Now just why is this such a hot topic in the news? “Just thinking about my name and everything that has happened all my life, it was always bigger than me. God had a purpose and God had a plan for me.” Gift Ngoepe said these very words himself, proving that faith and humility take people farther than anything else in life. Ngoepe believed in himself, and it paid off. Not only did he believe in himself, but he also had a huge support system following him. His mother worked her entire life to make her son’s dreams come true. When Gift was a child, she found him a team in Randburg, with the Mets, a local South African team. She took her son to each practice, supported him at every game, ran the clubhouse, cooked and cleaned for players, sold food to fans, and gave up the comfort of a home to sleep in the tiny room next to the shower stall in the clubhouse. Ngoepe credits his mom and exclaims over and over again that he would not be where he is today without her.

This is the Pirates home field, located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It holds 38,946 fans.

Not only did Ngoepe surpass his personal goals, he made history. By being the first African-born Major League Baseball player, he opened the gate for all aspiring African baseball players. It takes a leader to make a change, and Ngoepe just may be the face of the new revolution. “You’re on a different continent, in a different culture, and there’s no one like you anywhere — in Altoona, Indianapolis, or if you get to the big leagues. But you’re giving hope to more than just yourself.” This statement, posed by a close friend to Ngoepe shows the power behind the situation. By making history and being the first African to play in the MLB, he has proved that America is the melting pot it claims to be; and the American Dream can come true for whoever works for it. The opportunities are endless, and with this door open to all AFrican players, it is just the start of something amazing that could happen within all American sports teams! History has been made by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and us Americans could not be more thrilled to watch the first African Major League Baseball player make Randburg proud, and prove that hard work breeds success. People like Ngoepe earn the things that they get, and it is feel good stories like these that give people hope, and give all the endless hard work a meaning.

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