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Pirates to make Gift Ngoepe majors’ first African-born player

Gift Ngoepe

When Gift Ngoepe is promoted to the Pittsburgh Pirates, he will be the first African-born player to ever play in the majors.

According to Adam Berry of MLB.com, the 27-year-old will be making his major league debut eight and a half years after he was signed by the Pirates.

The club just confirmed, and the story behind Ngoepe is a fascinating one.

He was born in South Africa and raised in a clubhouse by his mother.

“It’s going to be exceptionally rewarding to see Gift, with all the hard work that he’s put in over the years, when he finally steps onto the field at PNC Park,” explained Tom Gillesie, Pirates’ European scout.

The shortstop is known as the best defensive player in the Pirates organization and slashed a .241/.308/.379 line for Triple-A Indianapolis so far this season. He’s also versatile on defense with the ability to play at third and second base in addition to his natural shortstop position.

Ngoepe is being promoted after third baseman David Freese was unable to play third base. Freese didn’t land on the disabled list, but Berry did mention the team could open up a spot for Ngoepe.