Spikes alum Ngoepe is first African-born MLB player

2010 Spikes infielder makes history with Pirates debut Wednesday

By State College Spikes | April 27, 2017 11:14 AM ET

Gift Ngoepe, who manned the infield for the State College Spikes in 2010, made major league history as he became the first player born on the African continent to reach the MLB ranks. Ngoepe is now the 46th player to go from Central PA to the majors on the Road to the Show, presented by HRI, Inc.

Ngoepe was called up to the Pittsburgh Pirates from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon, and made his major league debut that night against the Chicago Cubs. After entering the game at second base as a defensive replacement in the fourth inning, the Pietersburg, South Africa native created a moment to remember when he singled in his first MLB at-bat in the fifth.

The Spikes connections ran deep in the game as well. Ngoepe replaced another Spikes alum, Tyler Glasnow in a double switch when he entered the game in the fourth, and the first man to embrace Ngoepe after his single was 2011 Spikes manager and current Pirates first-base coach Kimera Bartee.

In 64 games with the Spikes in 2010, Ngoepe split time between second base and shortstop while hitting .205 with one home run and 20 runs batted in. He also produced a .315 on-base percentage and stole 11 bases in 18 attempts.

Ngoepe follows Lithuanian-born 2012 Spikes pitcher Dovydas Neverauskas, who debuted in the big leagues on Monday, in making history as the first to represent their respective nations in the majors after growing their careers in State College.

See the complete list of Spikes to the Majors here

Fans can see more future major leaguers throughout this summer when the Spikes hit the field to defend their New York-Penn League championship. The 2017 home schedule begins with Opening Night, presented by PSECU and NEWSRADIO 1390 WRSC, on Monday, June 19, and features 38 nights of fun, affordable family entertainment through September 7.

Click here for information on single game tickets, group experiences and hospitality options!




This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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