LGBT people are some of the bravest and most potent change agents and leaders I have encountered, and the most forceful defenders of the vulnerable and voiceless, because they know what it’s like to be there.” ― Ronan Farrow
So, here we gonna talk about some of the bravest of all beings; as we know, Like other sports, homophobia is still prevalent in baseball. Although step is taken to support the LGBTQ community, it has proven to be ineffective.
Baseball is one of the 5 major sports in America, and its popularity is increasing across the globe.
Major League Baseball seems to be falling behind other sports leagues in acceptance of gay players.
In MLB, players recorded using homophobic slurs in games. The recent incident of Reds announcer Brennaman, among a few, also proves why.
Citing 9 baseball players coming out moment.
“Pride is for everyone,” In professional baseball, brave players who came out as gay publicly are mainly from minor leagues.
The pressure toward accepting pride players in baseball may be why homosexual players who come out as gay before or after retirement have a short career.
Here we gonna look at the baseball players who identify themselves as homosexuals during or after their playing careers.
Matt Barker, back then, was considered a baseball prodigy in high school. Later Colorado Rockies drafted him as the 46th pick.
However, the club wanted him to complete his college. But the college team kicked him, and he wasn’t drafted later.
Currently, he plays in National Adult Baseball League for Denver Browns as second base. Later, he revealed his identity as gay while interviewing with SB Nation.
He decided to join the Browns as the team already knew he was gay, and it wasn’t an issue for the team.
Ryan Jordan Santana
Ryan Santana played professional baseball in Australia for Golden Dodgers.
Studied at Christain University Azusa Pacific University, whose policy advocates particularly ban of homosexuals.
Moreover, Santan made headlines after coming out as gay in front of his mother and teammates while filming This Is Life, a TLC documentary in 2017.
Later, he retired from playing baseball and joined the gay softball club in Phoneix. Although, Santan always had planned after coming out as gay. He won’t play baseball.
Pirates drafted John Dillinger in 1992. Throughout his professional career, he played bouncing between five teams in minor leagues for 11 years.
Dillinger told Outsports in 2012 about his sexuality. However, Dillinger also mentions he didn’t intend to tell his teammates after hearing gay slurs.
Likewise, in 2007 only he said to his family members regarding dating a man. Later, he got into a relationship with Gregory Fisher.
Moreover, former Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy inspired him to come out as gay publicly.
Tyler Dunnington is a retired pitcher in a minor league team affiliated with St. Louis Cardinals. He was selected in the 2014 MLB draft as the 28th overall pick.
But only one year into his professional career, Dunnington retired from baseball. He had not revealed his sexuality to any teammates or the public before retirement.
Later, interviewing with SB nation outsports, he mentions hearing anti-gay slurs by teammates in the locker room or games felt like having a knife in the heart.
He also said remarks by coaches and players regarding “killing gay people” broke his spirit. Later, lack of support causes him to hang up on baseball even after having a decent debut season.
However, after having his family and friends’ support, he got the spirit to return to the sport he had loved since childhood.
Later, in 2016 Dunnington also took part in the MLB Diversity Business Summit held in Phoenix.
Jason Burch played for four different MLB franchise-affiliated teams. He began his career in 2008 before retiring in 2008.
Since his childhood, his mother always told him that he never answers if no one asks a question. Later, he grew up with the same mantra.
Although he told about his sexuality to his teammates, he didn’t publicly come out till 2015, interviewing with Outsports.
Furthermore, Brunch also mentions he should have revealed his sexual orientation back in his playing days.
In his playing career, he dated men on every team for over 6 years in the minor league. After retiring from baseball, he graduated with a law degree.
Later, in 2012, Brunch met Drew Raines, the present partner.
David Denson is a retired American baseball player. Moreover, he played for Milwaukee Brewers as an outfielder and first baseman in the minor league.
Milwaukee Brewers selected Denson in the 2013 MLB draft as the 15th overall pick. However, in the first two seasons, he played for Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
Later, in the 2015 season, he played Helena Brewers. Next season returning to Wisconsin, Denson played as an outfielder.
Furthermore, in 2015, Denson revealed his sexuality to his Wisconsin teammates. He became pleased to see the support of his teammates.
Later in August 2015, Billy Bean helped Densen contact Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to come out as gay publicly.
Moreover, he later became the first major league affiliated player and second active professional baseball player to come out as gay publicly.
In 2017, David Denson, at the age of 22, surprisingly retired from baseball. He also mentioned his decision was not affected by any announcement in the past about coming out as gay.
Sean Conroy is a retired professional baseball player. He played for Sonoma Stompers in the minor league.
Moreover, he is the first baseball player to come out as gay publicly. On 25th June 2013, during a pride night match at his debut, Conroy announced his sexuality.
In the historic game, he pitched the whole game, managing to strike out 11 batters. That season Conroy ended the season with a 5-3 record.
At age 16, Conroy firstly told his parents about his sexuality. His high school and college teammates also knew.
During his contract signing, Stompers didn’t know of his sexual orientation. But he eventually told his teammates and owner after his arrival.
The team fully supported Conroy, and during the memorable game, everyone wore rainbow socks.
Later, the scorecard of his historic start was signed by all of his teammates, and his jersey was featured in the Hall of fame.
Likewise, after finding out he is the only professional baseball player to come out publicly, he became surprised.
Conroy also mentioned hearing many homophobic languages during his career, and the main reason behind coming out is to educate people.
In 2017, just two years into his professional career, Conroy retired from baseball.
Sean Conroy seemed the most searched than the ones mentioned before him as we analyzed in the search graph.
Billy Bean is the second MLB player to come out as gay publicly. In the 1986 MLB draft Bean was selected by Detroit Tigers in the 4th round.
From 1987 to 1995, he was an outfielder for MLB teams like the Tigers, Dodgers, and Padres during his professional career.
However, he revealed his sexuality only four years after his retirement in 1999. He announced his sexuality in an interview with Miami Herald.
But he told his parents during his time in Padres. Furthermore, he was in a relationship with a woman before. He married Loyola Marymount, but they divorced 3 years later.
Moreover, Bean also mentioned that he was 28 years old while having his first sexual experience with a guy.
Later, he got together with Efrain Veiga, who was the Yuca restaurant founder. They lived together in Miami Beach, but they broke up in 2008 after 13 years of relationship.
Since coming out as gay, Bean has been actively raising his voice for LGBTQ rights, mainly in sports.
In 2003, Bean wrote the book named Going the other way to answer criticism and hope of gay athletes accepted by others in sports.
During that time, his book became one of the USA’s best sellers.
In 2014 he became the first MLB Ambassador for Inclusion. Later, he got promoted to vice president, social responsibility, and Inclusion position.
He is also a member of the Gay and Lesbian Foundation board. In addition, Bean spends talking to present MLB players related to LGBTQ issues yearly.
Billy Bean doesn’t fall much far on the scale of popularity as we see in the search graph.
Glenn Lawrance Burke is a retired Major League Baseball player.
During his early career, from 1976-78, he was considered a talented star playing for Los Angeles Dodgers. He also started in the 1977 World Series.
But injury affected his career. Later, he played Oakland Athletics before retiring in 1980.
Furthermore, he is the first MLB player to reveal his sexuality. However, he didn’t come out in the media. But he told his Dodgers teammates and owners that he is gay.
It was only in 1982 when he made a public announcement as gay articles were issued by Inside sports magazine.
Later, after joining Oakland, he was mistreated. Burke told players they were hesitant to take a shower with him. He also said the manager was homophobic.
Burke is also given credit for inventing the high five. ESPN aired The High Five covering every detail of the event and how it was invented.
Even after retirement, he actively competed in sports events. Burke participated in gay games, 1982 in track and baseball in 1986.
Moreover, in 1982 he won medals in both 100 and 200 meters in the first-ever gay games.
However, he got into drug problems and tested positive for HIV and Aids. Later, he died of Aids in 1985, aged 42.
Later, in 2013 he was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of fame in the first class.
Likewise, many books related to his biography have been published.
Other notable names
- Former MLB club Pittsburgh Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy came out as gay after interviewing with The New York Times.
- In 2014, Dale Scott, MLB umpire from 1986 to 2004, revealed his sexuality in Referee magazine.
In 150 years of Major League Baseball(MLB), only two players have openly disclosed their sexuality. Moreover, they revealed their identity only after retirement.
Since 2016, no homophobic slur has been chanted for the first time, and it looks like MLB is doing its best to change the perspective toward homosexual players.