We first wrote about the Glenn Burke documentary last year when it made its premiere on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Now it’s getting a national showing on Versus on Tuesday, August 9th at 10PM.
For those unaware, Glenn Burke was the first and, as far as we know, the only gay player to be out of the closet to his teammates and team ownership during his major league career. His is, not surprisingly, a complicated story as well in that Burke and many close to him believed that he was run out of the league because of it. Maybe that’s true. On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that his performance didn’t justify a place for him on a major league roster. Or it could have been a combination of the two.
But whatever the case, Burke’s place in history is undeniable. As I wrote last year, there have been over 6,000 players who have cycled through the big leagues since Burke left. The odds that none of them save Bill Bean (who came out after his career was over) were gay are more or less impossible. That Burke is, to this day, one of a kind is both intriguing and regrettable.
I haven’t seen the Burke documentary, but I heard good things about it. If you have a chance and the inclination, tune in to Versus next Tuesday night to check it out.