Retired baseball player Billy Bean says
it's going to take a “special guy” to become the first male
professional team athlete to come out gay.
The 47-year-old Bean announced he's gay
in1999 and talked about his experience in his 2003 memoir Going
the Other Way: Lessons from a life in and out of Major League
Baseball. Bean was an outfielder and a left-handed hitter who
played in the MLB for 8 years ending in 1995. He played for the
Detroit Tigers, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Diego Padres and
Japan's Kintetsu Baffaloes for one season. He currently resides in
Florida, where he sells real estate.
When asked his thoughts on when a male
professional team athlete would come out gay during his career, Bean
Star News that it would need to a “special guy.”
“I still feel that a lot of players
are afraid to put themselves at the center of a storm,” Bean said.
“Even if they're comfortable with themselves and think half of
their team would be fine, it's usually one or two of the guys who's
bad and there's that fear there. Or maybe it's the front office and
the team doesn't want a distraction.”
“It's going to take maybe just one
special guy who can really move that ball forward,” he added.