"I told myself not to cry, because I'm in the big leagues and I'm a big guy."
Pittsburgh Pirates rookie infielder Gift Ngoepe made MLB history last night, becoming the first African-born baseball player to play in a major league game.
What's more, he had a hit in his first at-bat, a fourth inning single off John Lester, and a walk in Pittsburgh's 6-5 win over the Cubs.
After the game, Ngoepe was asked about what was going through his head after getting the first hit of his MLB career.
"I thought about where I've come from, making the journey from South Africa to pursue my dream of playing in the major leagues someday," Ngoepe said. "I thought about the struggles of being in the minor leagues for 8½ years and then to finally get up here and get a hit in my first at-bat. The whole thing was just awesome. That's the only word I can think of to describe it. It was awesome."
"I told myself not to cry, because I'm in the big leagues and I'm a big guy," Ngoepe said. "[Francisco] Cervelli hugged me, and I could feel my heartbeat through my chest. It was emotional, and I had to fight back the tears."
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided to pull a double-switch in the fourth, giving Ngoepe the chance to play second base.
"Jordy [Mercer] just kept telling everybody, 'He's representing 1.62 billion people. He's one of them, 1.62 billion,'" Hurdle said. "Everybody was pulling for him."
Check out the highlight below.