Gift Ngoepe

Gift Ngoepe
Pittsburgh Pirates – No. 61
Shortstop / Second baseman
Born: (1990-01-18) 18 January 1990
Randburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Bats: Right Throws: Right

Mpho' Gift Ngoepe (born 18 January 1990) is a South African professional baseball shortstop and second baseman in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. A native of Randburg, Gauteng, Ngoepe became the first black South African, and the sixth South African to sign a professional baseball contract when he signed in October 2008. Growing up, Ngoepe's mother was a clubhouse attendant for the Randburg Mets, and they lived in one of the clubhouse rooms.[1] He was invited to Major League Baseball's academy in Tirrenia, Italy, where the Pirates signed him.[2]

In 2009, Ngoepe played for the Gulf Coast League Pirates, and batted .238 with 1 home run and 9 runs batted in (RBI) in 47 games.[3] He was a member of the South Africa national baseball team at the 2009 World Baseball Classic. At the 2009 WBC, he hit consecutive triples off of Mexico's Elmer Dessens in a 14-3 loss to Mexico.[4] On 10 August 2009 Sports Illustrated did an article on Ngoepe titled "A Gift From Africa" which covered how he started his baseball career, his upbringing and time with the Pirates since moving from South Africa.[5] In 2010, he played 64 games with the Short Season-A State College Spikes and 2 with the Advanced-A Bradenton Marauders, batting a combined .206 with 1 home run and 20 RBI.[3] Ngoepe played only 27 games in 2011 due to a hamate injury.[6] He batted .297 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI before the injury.[3]

Ngoepe played the entire 2012 season with Bradenton, and in a then career-high 124 games played he hit .232 with 9 home runs and 36 RBI. He would also play 16 games for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.[3] In 2013 he again began the season with Bradenton, playing 28 games and batting .292 before being promoted to the Double-A Altoona Curve, where he played 72 games. In Altoona, Ngeope batted .177 with 3 home runs and 16 RBI. He made his second trip to the Arizona Fall League at the end of the season, playing 17 games for Scottsdale.[3] In 2014, Ngeope set career-highs in games played and RBI, playing 131 games with Altoona and batting .238 with 9 home runs and 52 RBI.[3] He was invited to 2015 spring training by the Pirates on 9 January 2015.[7]


  1. Cassavell, AJ (18 September 2012). "Ngoepe aims to spark South Africa in Classic". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  2. Hammond, Sean (2 August 2014). "Playing in the present". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Gift Ngoepe Minor League Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  4. Gift Ngoepe could be South Africa's bequest to baseball Chicago Tribune, 15 March 2009
  5. A Gift From Africa Sports Illustrated, 10 August 2009
  6. Williams, Tim (13 March 2012). "Gifted and Talented". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
  7. Brink, Bill (9 January 2015). "Pirates invite eight to spring training in Bradenton, Fla.". Retrieved 8 March 2015.
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