Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

MLB Finally Acknowledges Glenn Burke, The Game's Gay Pioneer

Illustration for article titled MLB Finally Acknowledges Glenn Burke, The Games Gay Pioneer

At tonight's all-star game, MLB will recognize the career and contributions of Glenn Burke, a speedy outfielder who became the first baseball player to be out to his teammates, and the first to acknowledge it publicly after his career ended.

Burke left the game in 1979, citing the burden of keeping his personal life private.

"It's harder to be a gay in sports than anywhere else, except maybe president. Baseball is probably the hardest sport of all. Every man in America wants his son to be a baseball player. The first thing every father buy for his son is a ball and glove. It's all-American. Only a superstar could come out and admit he was gay and hope to stay around, and still the fans probably would call the stadium and say they weren't going to bring their kids. Instead of understanding, they blackball you."


Burke died in 1995 from AIDS complications. Below, the landmark 1982 Inside Sports story that made Burke's sexuality public. If nothing else, it'll make you respect Dusty Baker, and provide yet more evidence that Tommy Lasorda is a shitbag.

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