The 2013 World Baseball Classic “No. 2” jersey worn by Rick Magnante during the qualifier tournament at Roger Dean Stadium, Jupiter, South Florida was donated by Mike Ward to the Nelson Mandela Trust Fund.
Magnante managed the South African team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, 2007 Baseball World Cup, 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament, 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2009 Baseball World Cup and the 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifiers. Magnante has been with the Oakland A’s organization for the previous 12 seasons, spending the past three as the manager of Vermont of the New York Penn League. He is currently the manager of the Class A Beloit Snappers He has done double-duty as an area scout as well and is credited with signing stars like Barry Zito and Bobby Crosby.
At the New York Yankee Stadium on April 15th the SA “#2” jersey was proudly handed to the grandson of late President Mandela, Zondwa Mandela as memento by Mike Ward, the tireless champion of SoutH African baseball, and in the presence of the South African Consul General George Monyemangene, Sello Hatang, CEO of “The Nelson Mandela Foundation” and Harry Belafonte the world renowned singer. The jersey will be showcased at the Nelson Mandela Foundation Headquarters in New York.
The SA jersey is significant as it represents the number worn during South Africa’s first and only World Baseball Classic victory in May 2013 during a playoff game against France which South Africa won 5-2 in 11 innings.
The gift represents a gesture to the Mandela family from the baseball fraternity in South Africa as an inspiration for future players.