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David Denson: First Openly Gay Major League Baseball Player

Image: David Denson: First Openly Gay Major League Baseball Player
David Denson, now a first baseman with Helena Brewers in the rookie Pioneer League. (YouTube)

By    |   Monday, 17 Aug 2015 05:51 AM

Minor league baseball player David Denson, a first baseman on a farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers, has become the first openly gay player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said Denson, with the help of former major leaguer Billy Bean, reached out to the newspaper to tell his story, reported The Associated Press.

The 20-year-old plays for the Helena Brewers in the rookie Pioneer League. Bean, Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion, revealed he is gay after his playing career.

''Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them,'' Denson told the newspaper. ''They said, ''You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back.'

''That was a giant relief for me. I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality.''

In June, pitcher Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association, revealed he is gay. The Pacific Association is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.

Denson was selected by the Brewers in the 15th round in 2013 after playing for South Hills High School in West Covina, California. He spent last season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Class A Midwest League, hitting .243 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 68 games.

He started this season with Wisconsin, hitting .195 with one homer and eight RBIs in 24 games before being sent top Helena. In 42 games with the Montana team, he's hitting .245 with four homers and 18 RBIs.
 
According to Reuters, only two major league players have ever come out publicly as gay – Bean and Glenn Burke – and both had already left the game.

Other professional athletes who have disclosed their homosexuality in recent years include football player Michael Sam, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014 but didn't make the roster.

Sam announced on Friday that he was stepping away from football and leaving the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes for mental health reasons.

National Basketball Association player Jason Collins because the first active player in a major professional team sport to come out publicly as gay in 2013. He has since retired.

A representative for Major League Baseball was not immediately available for comment.

 

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Minor league baseball player David Denson, a first baseman on a farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers, has become the first openly gay player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.
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Monday, 17 Aug 2015 05:51 AM
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