Auckland teenager Kyle Glogoski is the 19th New Zealander to have signed a contract with a Major League Baseball franchise but will hope to be the third of those men and first born here to kick on and play in the big leagues.

Glogoski signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday and will head to the United States to play rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League in April as he begins the challenging journey towards "The Show".

Only American-born New Zealand Diamondblacks representatives Nick Maronde (Los Angeles Angels in 2012) and John Holdzkom (Pittsburgh Pirates in 2014) have played in the major leagues.

Read more: Auckland teenager signs with former World Series champions Philadelphia Phillies


A handful of others including former Black Sox softball star Travis Wilson and the first Kiwi to ever be drafted, Scott Campbell, came agonizingly close but ultimately fell short.

Urban legend suggests Wilson was set to be called up to the majors during his stint with the Atlanta Braves but roommate Marcus Giles ended up getting the invite instead. He spent time on the Braves 40-man roster but never played in a major league game.

Campbell is New Zealand's most renowned domestically-grown player having learned his trade in East Auckland before embarking on a college career in the United States. He was the first Kiwi selected in the MLB Draft back in 2006 and he enjoyed a successful minor league career with the Toronto Blue Jays. The third baseman was being prepared for a call-up to the majors when a debilitating hip injury cut his career short.

In recent years Te Wera Bishop, Daniel Devonshire, Pita Rona and Max Brown have been signed to major league clubs but failed to progress through the minor league system.
Glogoski has a point of difference to those players in that he is a pitcher.

Most of the Australian players to have made it to the majors have been pitchers and there is a school of thought that it is harder for position players (hitters) to break through compared to pitchers. He's also thought to be more advanced mentally in terms of the challenge that lies ahead.

The Bayside Westhaven and Howick Hawks junior has long held a dream of making it to the majors and was the youngest player on the Diamondblacks roster at the 2016 World Baseball Classic qualifiers in Sydney. He's had a taste of living away from home and, at six foot two, is still growing and hit 92mph on the radar gun recently.

It is a long road to the big time in baseball – much harder to progress to the bigs than in the NBA or NFL – but Glogoski is certainly New Zealand's best hope over the next few years.