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 told Gay 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.