9 Gay Baseball Players Who Came Out to the World


Do you have any idea about the gay baseball players who came out to the world?

Homophobia is still present in every five major sports in America, but mostly in baseball.

Though the MLB is taking steps to support the LGBT community, it still has a long journey ahead to accept gay players wholeheartedly, like in other sports leagues.

Gay Baseball Players
Gay Baseball Players (Source: MLB.com)

Gay slurs are common in MLB, just to call out the recent homophobic comments made by the Cincinnati Reds commentator, Thomas Brennaman, in 2020.

Mainly, the baseball players who come out as gay are hardly accepted in MLB, which results in a short career before or after their retirement. Further, most of the baseball players who come out publicly belong to the minor leagues.

So, let’s take a look at the nine brave baseball players who dared to come out to the world during or after their gaming careers.

Quick Overview

 S.N.  Name of Baseball Players Who Came Out To The World Country 
 1.  Glenn Burke  USA
 2.  Billy Bean  USA
 3.  Sean Conroy  USA
 4.  David Denson  USA
 5.  Jason Burch  USA
 6.  Tyler Dunnington  USA
 7.  John Dillinger  USA
 8.  Ryan Jordan Santana  USA
 9.  Matt Barker,  the USA

Gay Baseball Players Who Came Out to the World

The information and details has been compiled from trusted sites on the web, including OutSports and Wikipedia.

9. Matt Barker

Matt Barker was a prominent baseball player during his high school days.

In his junior years, Barker could hit over .500 and pitched 9-0, scoring four home runs during a single game. With that, he earned the name of Colorado high school’s County Player of the Year.

Besides, his polished baseball skills made the Colorado Rockies pick him in the 46th round of the MLB Draft.

However, the league wanted him to graduate first.

Matt Barker (Source: Outsports)

So, Barker joined Midland College in 2000. But, he ended up withdrawing from the college due to his heavy clash with the baseball head coach.

Later, he got kicked out from Lamar Community College and Otero Junior College, too, due to his heavy drinking habits and was left undrafted by the Rockies.

In 2016, the Denver Browns drafted him as its second baseman. Since then, Barker has been playing for the Browns. Moreover, his teammates and the entire management have been supportive since he opened up as a gay on his debut.

Whereas Barker came out to the world in 2020 in an interview with Outsports.

8. Ryan Jordan Santana

Ryan Jordan Santana is a former baseball player who played for the Australian club Golden Dodgers.

In 2017, Ryan came out in front of his mother and two teammates during TLC’s live show, This Is Life Live.

Ryan shared that he knew he was gay since he was 15 years old. But, he was too scared to come out to his family and teammates due to the social stigma and presence of homophobia in sports.

Ryan Jordan Santana (Source: Outsports)

His mother, teammates, and the public embraced him with love and support after coming out.

But, Ryan ended his baseball career. As he wanted to pursue a sports career in his hometown, Phoenix.

Since 2018, Ryan has been playing for the gay softball team based in Phoenix.

Further, he also actively advocates for gay rights with the Phoenix-based youth LGBT center, One N Ten.

7. John Dillinger

John Dillinger is a former baseball player from Nashville.

From 1992 to 2005, he played with five major baseball leagues Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Anaheim Angels.

He had a win-loss record of 68-70, a 4.30 ERA, and 1,201 innings pitched.

Left George Fisher Right John Dillinger (Source: SBNation.com)

In 2007, Dillinger came out to his family by saying that he was dating a man.

But, he gathered up the courage to come out to the world only in 2012 in an interview with Outsports.

Currently, he serves as an account executive for a healthcare company based in his hometown. Further, he is dating Gregory Fisher, who is a spiritual life coach and health specialist.

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6. Tyler Dunnington

Tyler Dunnington is a former baseball player from St. Louis Cardinals affiliate team, Gulf Coast League Cardinals.

St. Louis picked him in the 28th round of the 2014 MLB Draft.

During his debut season, Tyler had a win-loss record of 4-2 and a 3.09 ERA. But, despite the decent game, he retired from baseball after playing a single season.

Tyler Dunnington
Tyler Dunnington (Source: Colorado Mesa University Athletics)

Later, in an interview with Outsports in 2016, Tyler came out as gay.

He explained that he heard gay slurs in the locker rooms, and his teammates and coaches once even talked about killing gay people.

Hearing such harsh talks pierced his heart like a knife and killed his spirit. So, he decided to end his love for baseball and come out to the world by retiring.

After coming out, he still got unconditional love and support from his family and friends. With that, he gained the courage to come back to baseball again but in MLB’s front office.

So, Tyler participated in the MLB Diversity Business Summit that took place in 2016.

5. Jason Burch

Jason Burch is a former pitcher from the Minor League Baseball (MiLB)’s AA team, Bowie Baysox.

In 2008, while playing his first game with the Baysox, Burch revealed that he is, in fact, a gay man to one of his teammates when asked about his girlfriend.

Gay Baseball Players- Jason Burch
Jason Burch (Source: LGBT Bar Association)

Later, he opened up to some of his closest teammates too. But, he never came out publicly till an interview with SBNation Outsports in 2015.

Further, Burch stated that he should have come out to the world during his pitching days. So, he could have set an example for gay people to come out as active players. But, the thoughts never crossed his mind.

During his career, which spanned more than six years, Burch had dated men on every team he played for.

Currently, he serves as an attorney in Sidley Austin LLP, which is based in Chicago.

4. David Denson

David Denson is a former outfielder from MiLB.

Denson made his MiLB debut when the Milwaukee Brewers picked him in the 15th round of the 2013 Draft.

During his 2014 game with Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, he played 64 games and scored four home runs with .234 hits and 29 RBIs.

Gay Baseball Players- David Denson
David Denson (Source: CNN)

In 2015, Denson came out publicly with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel while playing for the Helena Brewers.

By that, he became the second active baseball player to come out as gay.

After two years, he retired from baseball, stating that he was looking forward to pursuing a career as a personal trainer.

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3. Sean Conroy

Sean Conroy is a former pitcher from New York. He pitched for the Sonoma Stompers from 2015 to 2017.

When he was 16 years old, Conroy came out as gay with his family, friends, school, and college teammates.

Gay Baseball Players- Sean Conroy
Sean Conroy (Source: slate.com)

During his first debut game with Sonoma in 2015, Conroy led the team to gain victory over 22-men rosters of the Pacific Association League with 7-0. Besides, he stroked out 11 players in the game.

Further, it was a historic moment for Conroy and Sonoma when he came out after their victorious Pride Night game. The entire team cheered for him and supported him.

Moreover, Conroy is the first player in baseball history to come out as gay while he was active.

2. Billy Beane

Billy Beane is a former outfielder who competed in MLB from 1987 to 1995.

Since 2014, Beane has been serving as MLB’s Ambassador for Inclusion. Besides, he is also an executive vice president for MLB and owns a minority in MLB’s Oakland Raiders and EFL Championship’s Barnsley FC.

During his MLB career, Beane played for the teams like New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, and San Diego Padres.

Back then, he had a career record of .220 hits, three home runs scored, and 29 RBI.

While playing for the Padres, Beane revealed that he was gay to his parents by stating he had a sexual relationship with a man when he was 28 years old. Whereas he also was involved with women.

Gay Baseball Players- Billy-Beane
Billy Beane (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)

In 1999, Bean came out as gay in an interview with Miami Herald.

He stated that the homophobic environment in his pro career always made him anxious to reveal his sexuality. And he struggled too much to keep it a secret.

Since coming out as gay, Bean has been actively advocating the inclusion of LGBT in sports. And he encourages gay players.

Further, Beane shares twins Brayden and Tinsley with his wife, Tara Beane. He also has a daughter named Casey from his previous marriage.

1. Glenn Burke

Glenn Burke was an outfielder in MLB.

From 1976 to 1979, he made a mark as an exceptional outfielder for MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics.

During his 1976 debut on Dodgers, Burke revealed his sexuality to his entire teammates, coaches, and owners. They were supportive of him.

But, when it came to Athletics, the players hesitated to take showers with him. Besides, the coach of the club was also homophobic.

So, he took retirement after his last game with Athletics in 1979. During that time, Burke had a career record of .237 hits, two home runs, and 38 RBI.

Gay Baseball Players- Glenn-Burke
Glenn Burke (Source: The New York Times)

It was in 1982 the, Inside Sports magazine headlined his coming out story “The Double Life of a Gay Dodger.”

Though he retired from baseball, Burke was an active player in Gay Games in sprints, basketball, and softball. He competed in the first Gay Games in 1982 and won medals in both 100 and 200-meter sprints.

In 1995, Burke succumbed to AIDS at the age of 42.

In 2013, the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame inducted him as a first-class member.

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