Billy Bean was a major league baseball player who also happened to be gay. This shouldn't be special, but it is, because in the entire history of Major League Baseball, only two players have ever come out as gay, and both of those came out well after their playing days. One-time A's and Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke was the first, coming out in 1982, and Bean was the second, coming out in a front page article in the New York Times in 1999. Neither were stars, or even well known. Considering that there have been tens of thousands of major leaguers, and taking into account estimated percentages of gay people in the population at large, the numbers just don't add up.

Billy Bean was a marginal player at best, and this undoubtedly made it easier for him to come out as gay. While constantly bouncing up and down between the major and minor leagues, he played outfield and first base in parts of six seasons with the Tigers, Dodgers, and Padres from 1987-1995, compiling a career batting average of .226, with 5 home runs and 53 RBI in 478 at bats.

Bean had been married for three years before he realized he was gay when he fell in love with a "handsome Iranian named Sam." When Sam died suddenly of a ruptured pancreas, a grief-stricken Bean, tired of hiding his secret gay lifestyle from his teammates and baseball friends, walked away from the game he had thus far dedicated his life to. But even after retiring in 1995, Bean continued to conceal his orientation from his former teammates for four years, until friends convinced him to come out for the good of other professional athletes who are still trapped in the proverbial closet.

Today Bean runs a restaurant in Miami Beach, Florida with his current partner, and has become an outspoken advocate of gay rights. He recently published a book about his experiences as a closeted gay baseball player, entitled Going the Other Way.

But to this day there is not a single openly gay player in the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or the NBA.


Billy Bean's Career Statistics

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  G   AB    R    H   2B 3B  HR  RBI  SB CS  BB  SO   BA   OBP   SLG   TB   SH  SF IBB HBP GDP 
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
 1987 23 DET AL  26   66    6   17   2  0   0    4   1  1   5  11  .258  .310  .288   19   0   0   0   0   1
 1988 24 DET AL  10   11    2    2   0  1   0    0   0  0   0   2  .182  .182  .364    4   1   0   0   0   0
 1989 25 DET AL   9   11    0    0   0  0   0    0   0  0   2   3  .000  .214  .000    0   0   0   0   1   0
         LAD NL  51   71    7   14   4  0   0    3   0  2   4  10  .197  .250  .254   18   0   0   0   1   0
         TOT     60   82    7   14   4  0   0    3   0  2   6  13  .171  .244  .220   18   0   0   0   2   0
 1993 29 SDP NL  88  177   19   46   9  0   5   32   2  4   6  29  .260  .284  .395   70   2   5   1   2   4
 1994 30 SDP NL  84  135    7   29   5  1   0   14   0  1   7  25  .215  .248  .267   36   1   3   1   0   4
 1995 31 SDP NL   4    7    1    0   0  0   0    0   0  0   1   4  .000  .125  .000    0   0   0   0   0   0
+--------------+---+----+----+----+---+--+---+----+---+--+---+---+-----+-----+-----+----+---+---+---+---+---+
 6 Seasons      272  478   42  108  20  2   5   53   3  8  25  84  .226  .266  .308  147   4   8   2   4   9


Source: baseball-reference.com

Log in or registerto write something here or to contact authors.