In the mid 1970s, Glenn Burke came out. A Major League Baseball player, he had not kept his identity secret from his colleagues or friends. But his decision to come out was something else, apart from best guesses or ugly rumors or even confidences. And that decision was costly, as recounted in Out. The Glenn Burke Story, re-airing 17 August on Versus. As his teammates struggled with their own feelings, management was less ambivalent. The Dodgers dealt him to the As in 1977, where manager Billy Martin notoriously called him a “faggot” in front of his teammates. That same year, the As sent him down to the minors. Burke retired then, at age 27, despite good stats and an unfinished career. The documentary, produced by Doug Harris and Sean Madison, tells a story that is remarkable for a number of reasons, not least being Burke’s courage and determination: to this day, he remains the only Major League Baseball player to come out during his professional career. The only one.
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