It is statistical and logical certainty that many gay men have played professional baseball. One, Glenn Burke, may have been out, may not have been, depending on your definition of “out.” He was out to many teammates, but not to the public at large. And to the extent he was out to teammates is subject to some debate. Unfortunately Burke isn’t around anymore to give his thoughts on the matter.
But we know for sure that Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers — an independent team in the Pacific Coast Association — is gay and is out and, last night, he became the first openly-gay player in professional baseball. He also became the first openly-gay player to pitch a shutout, striking out 11 men and allowing only three hits in his nine innings of work. There’s a good, full story about Conroy in the Sacramento Bee that is worth your time.
Rob Neyer has some more stuff on the game, including comments from the Stomper’s radio announcer, who provides a basic scouting report on Conroy and how he pitched last night. He’s a sidearmer who only throws in the low-to-mid 80s, so don’t expect him in the big leagues any time soon, but he certainly got the job done last night.