Former Oakland Athletics Player Glenn Burke Was LGBT Pioneer In Major League Baseball

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Oakland Athletics player Glenn Burke

    Former Oakland Athletics outfielder Glenn Burke, who claimed credit as the originator of the high-five, was also the first former major leaguer to come out as gay publicly after leaving the sport.

    Teammates knew all about it and supported him -- management didn't.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers traded him to the A's because he was gay, the New York Times suggests, one of the many homophobia-fueled slights that contributed to his early exit from the game.

    Now, 30 years later, no active players have come out as gay. Burke is still an LGBT MLB pioneer with no peer. This year, during the All-Star break, MLB is trying to make right by honoring him and his surviving family, who have been invited to attend the annual best-of-the-best game, the newspaper reported.

    His sister, Lutha Burke, 66, who nursed Burke while he was dying of complications from AIDS in 1995, and Lutha's daughter, Alice Rose, will go to the game in Minneapolis, where the family have also been focal points at a gala Monday, plus a planned news conference with Commissioner Bud Selig.

    Burke came out in 1982, two years after leaving baseball. He broke into the majors at 23 with the Dodgers in 1976, and played in 225 games.