Glenn Burke Hits a Homerun for the Gays, 1977

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Glenn Burke. [1]
Born in 1952 in California, 24 year-old Glenn Burke was a Major League Baseball (MLB) player who, in 1977, made two distinct marks in the field of professional sports. Burke was credited as inventing the "high five" when he congratulated fellow teammate, Dusty Baker, for hitting a homerun during the last game of the season. Baker returned the favor later to celebrate Burke's first major league homerun.[2] Burke also became the first MLB player to quietly disclose his homosexuality to his Los Angeles Dodgers teammates and managerial staff despite a strong culture of homophobia prevalent in society.[3] His association with the Dodgers organization was complicated and full of bribes – including an all-expense paid "lavish honeymoon" if he were to partake in a "marriage of convenience" with a woman – from the administration to clear public allegations of endorsing homosexuality.[4] Burke was outraged and refused the offer. He further infuriated Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda by becoming acquainted with Tommy Lasorda, Jr., his estranged gay son, until Burke was traded to the Oakland Athletics despite helping to lead the Dodgers to the World Series.


As Burke stated in his autobiography Out At Home, prejudice because of his sexual orientation won out and mounting frustrations led him to quit, and permanently retire from baseball in 1979.[5] Burke's homosexuality was eventually leaked to the public because of an article published by Inside Sports magazine, which contained a confirmed confession from Burke that he was discriminated and traded by the Dodgers solely because of his sexual orientation.[6] He continued to compete in athletics after his MLB retirement and participated in the 100 and 200-meter sprint in the 1982 Gay Games, and in basketball in 1986. However, Burke was devoid of a supportive family and social network and began to use drugs while homeless. In 1994, he was diagnosed with AIDS and it was not until this information was saturated in public media that his former teammates and baseball organizations offered their support and condolences.[7]


"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," said Burke.[8]

References

  1. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.findagrave.com/photos/2006/46/13360959_114012409964.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi%3FGRid%3D13360959%26page%3Dgr&h=310&w=218&sz=14&hl=en&start=1&tbnid=vKCLV18VFt9_PM:&tbnh=117&tbnw=82&prev=/images%3Fq%3DGlenn%2BBurke%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG
  2. An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. GLBTQ Inc., 2002. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/burke_g.html (Accessed December 2, 2007).
  3. Stryker, Susan. Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chronicle Books: 1996. Pg. 138.
  4. An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. GLBTQ Inc., 2002. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/burke_g.html (Accessed December 2, 2007).
  5. Burke, Glenn. Out at Home: The Glenn Burke Story. Excel Publishing: 1995. Pgs. 32-43.
  6. An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture'.' GLBTQ Inc., 2002. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/burke_g.html (Accessed December 2, 2007).
  7. An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture. GLBTQ Inc., 2002. http://www.glbtq.com/arts/burke_g.html (Accessed December 2, 2007).
  8. A Man Once Called 'King Kong' Now in Grip of Disease," Philadelphia Inquirer, November 1995.


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Reference link #1 seems to be mangled by copying a Google search result, certain unnecessary parts of which break the link. I believe the correct, direct URL would be [1].
SMOKEYTOBY said ...
21:31, 4 October 2010 (EST)
THIS IS 2010 AND NOTHING HAS CHANGED. THERE ARE GAYS IN PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL BUT THE CULTURE OF HOMOPHOBIA IN THE SPORT SADLY KEEPS THESE PLAYERS LOCKED IN THE CLOSET. WHAT THE SPORT NEEDS IS A "GAY CURT FLOOD" TO SPEAK UP ABOUT BEING A HOSTAGE TO SPORT THAT ENCOURAGES CHEATING, LOOKS THE OTHE WAY WHEN DRUGS WERE BEING USED, AS LONG AS YOU WIN BABY

IT'S ASKING A LOT TO SPEAK UP, IT COST CURT FLOOD THE RATH OF NOT ONLY MANAGEMENT, BUT MANY PLAERS TOO. THAT DAY IS FAST APPROACHING

WHEN A BIG NAME PLAYER WILL COME OUT AND BREAK THE CULTURE OF SILENCE.AND I BELIEVE IT WILL HAPPEN IN A FEW YEARS, HOPEFULLY SOONER.


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