|South Africa national baseball team|
|Federation||South African Baseball Union|
|Confederation||African Baseball &|
|Current||25 1 (31 December 2022)|
|Highest||22 (June 2021)|
|Lowest||29 (December 2014)|
|World Baseball Classic|
|Appearances||2 (first in 2006)|
|Best result||16th (2 times, most recent in 2009)|
|Appearances||1 (first in 2000)|
|Appearances||5 (first in 1998)|
|Best result||14th (1 time, in 2001)|
|Appearances||2 (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.
|South Africa roster - 2023 World Baseball Classic Qualification|
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.
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)'.
The American All-Stars (1955–56)
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
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)
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|
World Baseball Classic
| South Africa|
World Baseball Classic
|United States 2006||16th|
|World Baseball Classic record||Qualification record|
|2006||Round 1||16th||0||3||12||38||No qualifiers held|
|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|
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Summer Olympics record||Qualification|
|2000||Australia||Preliminary||8th||1||6||11||73|| 1999 All-Africa Games|
Defeated Guam in Africa versus Oceania Playoff
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.
|All-Africa Games record|
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.
|South Africa||43–0 (F/5)||Lesotho||Randburg Sports Stadium|
|WP: Braydon Bartle||Boxscore||LP: Teboho Shelile|
|Zimbabwe||2–37 (F/6)||South Africa||Randburg Sports Stadium|
|LP: Ozias Moyo||Boxscore||WP: Darryn Smith|
|Nigeria||1–19 (F/7)||South Africa||Randburg Sports Stadium|
|LP: Ceaser Ofoedu||Boxscore||WP: Carl Michaels|
|South Africa||31–0 (F/7)||Uganda||Randburg Sports Stadium|
|WP: Vaughn Beariman||Boxscore||LP: Rockfeller Erima|
|Ghana||3–28 (F/5)||South Africa||Randburg Sports Stadium|
|LP: Mohammed Sherrif||Boxscore||WP: Wesley Botha|
- "The WBSC World Ranking". WBSC. 31 December 2022. Retrieved 31 December 2022.
- . The Foreign Service Journal, February 1939. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
- . Naval History and Heritage Command: California V. Accessed 20 August 2018.
- . The Herald(Melbourne). Published 20 March 1950.
- "South Africa in the WBSC Ranking (Men's baseball)". World Baseball Softball Confederation. Retrieved 12 August 2021.
- "Rodríguez jugará por Estados Unidos". El Nuevo Herald (in Spanish). Miami. 5 January 2006. p. 21. Retrieved 4 June 2021 – via newspapers.com.
- South Africa Archived 14 April 2006 at the Wayback Machine at the 2006 World Baseball Classic
- "Baseball Europe Africa Qualifier - The official site - WBSC". olympicbaseball.wbsc.org. Archived from the original on 21 September 2019.
- Report of Baseball Event of the 8th All Africa Games Abuja 2003