Outsports on Friday named Billy Bean
its Male Hero of the Year.
The 51-year-old Bean is a former
professional baseball player who played as an outfielder for the
Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.
In 1999, roughly four years after he
retired from the sport, Bean publicly announced he's gay.
Bean returned to Major League Baseball
last year to become the league's first “ambassador for inclusion.”
In this role, Bean advised minor league player David Denson on his
decision to come out.
Denson, Brewers minor-leaguer, comes out gay.)
“This year Bean has demonstrated a
deep understanding of how to truly shift the culture of a sports
league, and Major League Baseball has given him all the resources and
access he needs to execute it,” Outsports
editors wrote. “The result of his efforts? In the last 18
months, four front-office executives, one ball boy, one umpire and
two Minor League players – one current and one former – have come
out publicly. That bests the other four Big Five sports leagues
combined. Bean has been at the center of it all, creating a support
network within baseball – and reaching other sports – that will
bear fruit for years to come.”