South Africa national baseball team

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South Africa national baseball team
South Africa national baseball team.gif
Country South Africa
FederationSouth African Baseball Union
ConfederationAfrican Baseball &
Softball Association
ManagerAndy Berglund
WBSC ranking
Current 25 Increase 1 (31 December 2022)[1]
Highest22 (June 2021)
Lowest29 (December 2014)
World Baseball Classic
Appearances2 (first in 2006)
Best result16th (2 times, most recent in 2009)
Olympic Games
Appearances1 (first in 2000)
Best result8th
World Cup
Appearances5 (first in 1998)
Best result14th (1 time, in 2001)
All-Africa Games
Appearances2 (first in 1999)
Best result 1st (2 times, most recent in 2003)

The South African national baseball team is the baseball team which represents the Republic of South Africa in international baseball competitions such as the World Baseball Classic and the Summer Olympics. The governing body of the team is the South African Baseball Union.

Current roster[edit]

South Africa roster - 2023 World Baseball Classic Qualification
Players Coaches






On 5 July 1931, the first inter-provincial match was played between the only two provincial teams, Transvaal and Natal, in front of a crowd of 4,000 spectators. Included in the match was Springbok cricketer Buster Nupen (Transvaal), Springbok rugby player Bill Payn (Natal) and Springbok footballer George Brunton. Springbok All-Star teams would later be based on the best of several provinces, with Transvaal, Natal, and Western Province dominating.

In 1933, the clash between Natal and Transvaal included Nupen and Brunton, as well as Olympic gold medal hurdler Sid Atkinson(Natal), Springbok cricketers Charlie Cawse(Transvaal), Louis Duffus(Transvaal), Eric Dalton(Natal), Syd Curnow(Transvaal) and Springbok cricket captain Jock Cameron (Transvaal). In 1934, the match between Natal and Western Province featured Springbok rugby player Gerry Brand (Western Province).

The South African Baseball Federation was founded in 1935, with five provincial associations including Transvaal, Natal (founded 1931), Western Province (founded 1932), Eastern Province (founded 1934), and Border.

The first South African All-Star team appears to be formed on 19 November 1938, when an 'All Africa team' made up of the 'combined provinces' played a US Navy team from the USS Boise. South African cricketer Dudley Nourse featured for Natal a few days later , and was noted as winning 'admiration of the visitors'. Nourse would later go on to captain and manage the South African cricket team as well as later holding Springbok records for test appearances and batting average. When he was named Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1948, the Press Association reported Nourse 'became one of his country's leading baseball experts'. The score is recorded as 18-3 to US Navy.[2]

In Cape Town, on 17 November 1945, a South African exhibition team made up of players from the Transvaal, Natal, Eastern, and Western Province provinces took on a US Navy team from the USS Tennessee and USS California battleships. 'Nearly 20,000 cheering fans witnessed the principal game, which the ships’ company was hard pressed to win by two tallies (six to four)'.[3]

In Johannesburg, on 19 March 1950, the Australian cricket team ended their tour with a baseball match against a combined South African baseball team, in front of a reported record crowd of 12,000.[4]

The American All-Stars (1955–56)[edit]

During a visit to Battle Creek, Michigan, in the United States in July 1955, the chairman of the South African Baseball Board met with the President of American Baseball Congress to finalise arrangements for celebrating baseball's 50th year in South Africa. The three-month and unbeaten 33 game tour began on 14 November 1955, finishing in February 1956.

The "semi-pro level" American all-star team was managed by New York Yankees scout Terry Bartron and included Brooklyn Dodgers' Hall of Famer and World Series runner up (1953) Don Thompson, and Dick Stuart who went on to become World Series champion (1960), a two-time MLB All-Star player (1961), and the first first baseman in major league history to record three assists in one inning (1963).

Seven of the 33 games were against the first-ever official South African All-Star "test" team, which included Northern and Southern Rhodesia.

Results and fixtures[edit]

The following is a list of professional baseball match results currently active in the latest version of the WBSC World Rankings, as well as any future matches that have been scheduled.[5]


  Win   Lose   Void or postponed   Fixture


World Baseball Classic Q September 16 South Africa  4–5  Spain Armin-Wolf-Arena, Germany
13:00 CET LP: Jared Elario
Boxscore WP: Vicente Campos
Sv: Rhiner Cruz
HR: Justin Connell (1)
Umpires: Roberto LaMadrid
World Baseball Classic Q September 19 South Africa  5–11  Germany Armin-Wolf-Arena, Germany
12:00 CET LP: Kevin Townend (0-1)
HR: Dayle Feldtman (1)
Boxscore WP: Nick Wittgren (1-0)
Sv: Sascha Koch (1)
HR: William Germaine (1), Demetrius Moorer (1, 2)
Attendance: 920
Umpires: Sam Burch (HP), Tyler Jones (1B), Young Chou Kwon (2B), Kyohei Makita (3B)


African Championship GS May 1 South Africa  18–0  Uganda Johannesburg, South Africa
African Championship GS May 2 Burkina Faso  3–18  South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
African Championship GS May 3 South Africa  16–1  Zimbabwe Johannesburg, South Africa
African Championship SF May 4 Burkina Faso  5–16  South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa
African Championship F May 5 Uganda  0–27  South Africa Johannesburg, South Africa


Friendly November 3 France  13–24  South Africa Boksburg, South Africa
Friendly November 4 France  8–14  South Africa Boksburg, South Africa
Friendly November 7 France  11–9  South Africa Durban, South Africa
Friendly November 8 France  5–4  South Africa Durban, South Africa
Friendly November 9 France  1–7  South Africa Cape Town, South Africa
Friendly November 10 France  1–13  South Africa Cape Town, South Africa
Friendly November 11 France  4–11  South Africa Cape Town, South Africa

Tournament record[edit]

World Baseball Classic[edit]

 South Africa
World Baseball Classic
Tournament Results
United States 200616th
Mexico 200916th
Medal Tally
Gold medal world.svg
Silver medal world.svg
Bronze medal world.svg
World Baseball Classic record Qualification record
Year Round Position W L RS RA W L RS RA
United States 2006 Round 1 16th 0 3 12 38 No qualifiers held
Mexico 2009 Round 1 16th 0 2 4 22 No qualifiers held
2013 Did not qualify 1 2 11 22
2017 Did not qualify 2 2 22 19
2023 Did not qualify 0 2 9 16
Total 2/5 0 5 16 60 3 6 42 57


South Africa's inclusion in the WBC was considered rather surprising by many observers. No South African player reached Major League Baseball until Gift Ngoepe did so with the Pittsburgh Pirates on 27 April 2017. The team was managed by Rick Magnante, with then MLB career saves leader Lee Smith as a coach.[6]

In the team's first game, South Africa nearly pulled off an upset of Canada, a team consisting of mostly Major League Baseball players. South Africa took an 8–7 lead into the ninth inning before falling 11–8. This would be as close as the team would get to winning a game. The South Africans lost the next two games to Mexico 10–4, and to the United States in a mercy rule-shortened 17–0 rout.[7]


South Africa competed at the 2009 World Baseball Classic in Group B with Mexico, Cuba, and Australia.

In game 1 South Africa were overpowered by international powerhouse Cuba, giving up 6 home runs in an 8–1 loss. The South African defence was a bright point in the match however, turning three double plays and 2 pickoffs.

In the group elimination match South Africa lost heavily to hosts Mexico 14–3. Although the South Africans kept it a one-run ball game heading into the 7th inning, the Mexican team pounced on the inexperienced bullpen pitchers that entered the game late on and scored 11 runs in the final three innings.

South Africa finished the 2009 WBC with an 0–2 record, with 4 runs scored and 22 conceded.

2012 Qualifier[edit]

Four qualifying tournaments were scheduled in 2012 for the 2013 World Baseball Classic, with one team advancing from each to join the 12 squads that had qualified previously by winning at least one game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Each of the pools included one team with previous experience in the WBC, but which failed to win a single game during the 2009 tournament. South Africa was placed in Qualifier 1 with Spain, France, and Israel at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Florida.

South Africa lost the first game of this double-elimination tournament to dark horse Israel, 7–3. They moved into the loser's bracket where they eliminated France, 5–2 in 11 innings, after Paul Bell hit a 2-run double into left field in the top of the 11th. In the loser's bracket final, South Africa fell to eventual WBC qualifier Spain, 13–3, and was eliminated from the tournament. Minnesota Twins prospect, Hein Robb pitched 5.1 innings in 2 relief appearances, giving up 0 runs while striking out 4 batters during the qualifying tournament.

Olympic Games[edit]

Summer Olympics record Qualification
Year Host Round Position W L RS RA
2000 Australia Preliminary 8th 1 6 11 73 Gold medal africa.svg 1999 All-Africa Games
Defeated Guam in Africa versus Oceania Playoff
Total 1/5 1 6 11 73

The national team appeared in their first and only Olympic tournament in the 2000 Olympics. South Africa gained entry into the tournament by beating Guam 3–0 in a best-of-five Africa/Oceania playoff series. The team finished with a record of 1–6, with their only win against Team Netherlands.

The win against the Netherlands was thanks largely to two key players:

  • Tim Harrell (P) pitched all 10 innings in the game, giving up just two un-earned runs on five walks and six hits, with four strikeouts.
  • Ian Holness (RF) knocked in all three of South Africa's runs. He hit a solo home run in the 6th inning against Dutch starter Patrick de Lange, followed by an RBI double off reliever Radhames Dykhoff. He finished off the run scoring by hitting another solo home run in the 10th inning, off Dutch closer Rikkert Faneyte.

The team competed at the Africa/Europe 2020 Olympic Qualification tournament in Italy in September 2019. Among those who played for the team were Bradley Erasmus, Anthony Phillips, Darryn Smith, and Dylan Unsworth.[8]

All-Africa Games[edit]

All-Africa Games record
Year Host Position W L RS RA
1999 South Africa Gold medal africa.svg 1st 5 0 158 6
2003 Nigeria Gold medal africa.svg 1st Unavailable[9]
Total 2/2 - - - -

South Africa was the host of the All-Africa Games in 1999. South Africa won the gold medal with ease, by defeating all of the other national teams. In order of the wins South Africa won against Lesotho (43–0) with Ian Holness hitting 4 home runs and 14 RBIs, Zimbabwe (37–2), Nigeria (19–1), Uganda (31–0) and Ghana (28–3). South Africa was again the dominant power in the 2003 Games held in Abuja, cruising to the final where they beat Nigeria 15–0 to win Gold.

1999 All-Africa Games
9 September
South Africa  43–0 (F/5)  Lesotho Randburg Sports Stadium
WP: Braydon Bartle Boxscore LP: Teboho Shelile
11 September
Zimbabwe  2–37 (F/6)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Ozias Moyo Boxscore WP: Darryn Smith
12 September
Nigeria  1–19 (F/7)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Ceaser Ofoedu Boxscore WP: Carl Michaels
13 September
South Africa  31–0 (F/7)  Uganda Randburg Sports Stadium
WP: Vaughn Beariman Boxscore LP: Rockfeller Erima
14 September
Ghana  3–28 (F/5)  South Africa Randburg Sports Stadium
LP: Mohammed Sherrif Boxscore WP: Wesley Botha


  1. ^ "The WBSC World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
  2. ^ [1]. The Foreign Service Journal, February 1939. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  3. ^ [2]. Naval History and Heritage Command: California V. Accessed 20 August 2018.
  4. ^ [3]. The Herald(Melbourne). Published 20 March 1950.
  5. ^ "South Africa in the WBSC Ranking (Men's baseball)". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
  6. ^ "Rodríguez jugará por Estados Unidos". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Miami. 5 January 2006. p. 21. Retrieved 4 June 2021 – via
  7. ^ South Africa Archived 14 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine at the 2006 World Baseball Classic
  8. ^ "Baseball Europe Africa Qualifier - The official site - WBSC". Archived from the original on 21 September 2019.
  9. ^ Report of Baseball Event of the 8th All Africa Games Abuja 2003