Pittsburgh Pirates rookie Gift Ngoepe became the first African-born player to appear in a Major League Baseball game on Wednesday (April 26) and marked his debut by getting a hit in his first at-bat.
The 27-year-old South African, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day, entered the game against the visiting Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning.
When Ngoepe took to the field to play second base, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli and third baseman Josh Harrison each took turns holding their hands up to his chest as if to monitor the rookie’s heartbeat.
In the bottom half of the fourth Ngoepe hit a single up the middle off Cubs left-hander Jon Lester. His first trip to the bases was short-lived, however, as two batters later Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer hit into an inning-ending double play.
Ngoepe finished the game 1-for-2 with a single, walk and strikeout and the Pirates prevailed 6-5.