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Major League Baseball to Recognize Glenn Burke as a Gay Pioneer

By Stacy Lambe

Photo: via Wikipedia

Following speculation that Major League Baseball was planning to make an announcement regarding homophobia in the sport, The New York Times reports that the organization plans to honor former baseball player Glenn Burke ahead of the All-Star Game in Minneapolis. 

It will be the first time Burke, who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979 before coming out in 1982, will be recognized in any official capacity by the sports league.

Though not out to the public, Burke slowly came out to his team before he was traded to the Athletics — a move that was seen by many members of his team as a repercussion to being out. Burke was the first baseball player to come out and just one of two baseball players to ever reveal he was gay. The other was Bill Bean, who came out in 1999, four years after Burke lost his battle with AIDS.     

“He was a pioneer, and should be recognized,” Pat Courtney, a Major League Baseball spokesman, told NYT.

Burke's family has been invited to the All-Star Game and will be there for the league's announcement that Bean will be working with MLB to promote inclusion in the sport.  

"They can't ever say now that a gay man can't play in the majors, because I'm a gay man and I made it," Burke said in 1995 just before his death. Nearly two decades later the MLB is hoping to pave the way for another gay pioneer.

Watch a trailer from Out. The Glenn Burke Story documentary:

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