Tag Archives: Who will be the first South African to play Major League Baseball?

South Africa 15U World Cup Squad

Back (L-R): Donavan Adeline (Gauteng), Tanner Bunn (Gauteng); Brady Conradie (Western Province), Charles Van Wyk (Western Province), Keino Davids (Western Province), Brandon Gehlig (Western Province), Keagan Lazarus (Western Province), Cullum Lee (Easterns); Fabio Sa’Miranda (Easterns); Warren Ras (Gauteng), Jaundre Smit (Kwazulu-Natal) Front (L-R):Lance Gordon (Western Province), Laindan Andrews (Boland), Na’eem Dollie (Western Province), Alexander Fortune(Western Province), Yahya Patel (SWG), Dylan O’Brian (Kwazulu-Natal), Ross Vening-Pridham (Kwazulu-Natal), Brandon Smith (Kwazulu-Natal)

The eighteen-nation U-15 Baseball World Cup – which will be staged from 31-July to 10-August in Mazatlan, Mexico, and features ten of the top fifteen countries in the world

Launched in 2012 and played every two years, the U-15 (ages 13-15) Baseball World Cup has established itself as the pinnacle of baseball in this age category — and like the U-12 (ages 11-12) Baseball World Cup, the U-15 BWC is the only world championship across all of sport featuring National Teams, with the best young baseball players in the world, and future stars, representing their countries and uniting on the Baseball World Cup global platform.

A total of eighty-three U-15 Baseball World Cup games will be showcased over eleven days. The event was moved to Mazatlan after the three newly renovated venues in the cities of Constitucian, Los Cabos and La Paz were damaged by a hurricane.

Groups and Seeding

The eighteen participating National Teams of the II U-15 Baseball World Cup have been seeded and assigned (based on current World Rankings and past performance at the inaugural U-15 Baseball World Cup in 2012) to one of three six-nation groups:

Group A houses No. 4 seed Chinese Taipei, No. 6 seed Italy, No. 7 seed Mexico, No. 10 seed Brazil, No. 13 seed Czech Republic and No. 18 seed Tunisia.

Group B brings together the top two seeds in USA and Japan (who will also be competing in their first-ever U-15 Baseball World Cup), No. 8 seed Panama, No. 11 seed Germany, No 14 seed New Zealand and No. 16 seed South Africa.

Group C features the 2012 U-15 finalists in No. 3 seed Cuba and defending champion, No. 5 seed, Venezuela, No. 9 seed Australia, No. 12 seed Argentina, No. 15 seed Hong Kong and No. 17 seed Lithuania.


SA WBC Baseball Jersey Donated to the Nelson Mandela Trust Fund

SA Consul General George Monyemangene, Harry Belafonte, Sello Hatang, CEO “The Nelson Mandela Foundation”, Zondwa Mandela and Mike Ward

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.


Blueprint for the Green and Gold


We are growing increasingly frustrated with the inertia of the South African Baseball Union. In 2012 we submitted an extensively researched four year Strategic Plan to SABU for consideration.

The Mission: “To provide national leadership and develop baseball as a preferred sporting option and recreational choice, providing a framework for maximum access and mass participation
in building a healthier nation”

The Vision: “Develop and maintain baseball as an adequately resourced system at all levels of participation and that allows for the equitable delivery of school sport, recreation and competitive baseball.”

At that time South Africa was ranked 23rd in the world and uniquely positioned to derive maximum benefit from the rapid globalization of the sport of baseball. With the introduction of a South African Baseball League (SABL) we could derive immediate benefits in foreign investment, international relations and tourism. In collaboration with local national and international, private and public sector partners, we had secured investors willing to establish quality facilities to meet the needs of both elite level showcasing and participant growth of Baseball.

Two years later South Africa is ranked 31st in the world, having been passed by the likes of Hong Kong, Thailand, Phillipines and Argentina; the only efforts to grow the sport are being spearheaded by dedicated individual outside the confines of the SABU; the numbers of players in the professional ranks has remained static at eight; investors have grown impatient with the lack of response and set their sights on other southern hemisphere countries and our national championship was held without a murmur in the international baseball and scouting media?

This is a far cry from the realistic and achievable goals proposed in the Strategic Plan.

At the conclusion of this strategic plan cycle (31 December 2017),
baseball will be the sport of choice for 140,000 South Africans with a top sixteen (16) world ranking and an automatic berth in the Little League World Series. South Africa will take its rightful place as an integral part of the burgeoning international baseball structure.

I have shared the original document in the hopes of staring a dialogue that will help propel our baseball out of obscurity.

Blueprint for the Green and Gold

For the record, I am not trying to secure a position on the SABU. My son followed his dream to become a professional baseball player and my commitment is to grow the game of baseball in South Africa, leveraging my access to resources and knowledge developed over a fifteen year association with this sport from coach and manager to administrator. I also serve as the President of the Going to Bat Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of our youth by providing any child who wishes to play baseball or softball with the means and the opportunity, providing a viable alternative to other destructive options.

In this document the term “Baseball South Africa” is used generically and should not be confused with BaseballSA.com which is a website I created to  to provide players, administrators, coaches, supporters and scouts with easy access to information on the growing number of South African baseball players.

Keith Lovegrove

Who will be the first South African to play Major League Baseball.

Who will be the first South African to play Major League Baseball?Each of these players share that dream. More Information

To qualify, the player must play in an official regular or post-season Major League Baseball game.


Callan Pearce is South Africa’s Newest Professional


Callan Pearce was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Minnesota Twins and joins the seven South Africans already playing professional baseball in the USA (Gift Ngoepe, Pittsburgh Pirates; Tayler Scott, Chicago Cubs; Kieran Lovegrove, Cleveland Indians; Anthony Phillips, Dylan DeMeyer and Dylan Unsworth all from the Seattle Mariners and Hein Robb, Minnesota Twins)

Callan Pearce hails from Glenwood High School in Durban, South Africa and excelled as a multi-sport, playing cricket, softball and field hockey. Callan was signed to a multi-year contract by the Minnesota Twins where he joins countryman Hein Robb.

Callan keeps the number of South African born professionals at eight after Robert Lewis-Walker was released by the Concinnati Reds.

Wayne Williams, BaseballSA