Billy Bean

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Note: This page links to Billy Bean, the former major leaguer who acknowledged his homosexuality in 1999. For the current Oakland Athletics general manager, click here.

William Daro Bean

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

After his major league career ended, Billy Bean became one of only two (Glenn Burke is the other) former major leaguers to acknowledge his homosexuality. Bean would later write a book, Going the Other Way, about his experiences and became a prominent spokesman in favor of inclusion.

A star athlete in high school, he attended Loyola Marymount University and was a second-team baseball All-American there twice. He has a degree in business administration.

Bean was signed as a 4th round pick in the 1986 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers and scout Rick Arnold. He broke into the major leagues in 1987, playing 26 games with the pennant-winning Tigers as an outfielder. He played in the majors during parts of the 1987-1989 seasons, and then not again until 1993.

He got married in 1989, and the marriage lasted for a few years.

Bean played in 1992 with the Kintetsu Buffaloes, apparently not liking the experience.[citation needed] He was only 5 for 24 with 2 doubles for Kinetsu, and signed with the California Angels in July, playing 39 games with the Edmonton Trappers.

He got the most playing time in 1993 and 1994, getting around 300 at-bats in those two seasons with the San Diego Padres as the fourth outfielder and occasional first baseman. In 1995, his last year in major league baseball, he was struggling with the death of his partner and not being able to tell people about it.

In 1999 Bean acknowledged his homosexuality in a New York Times article. Afterwards, some players stated that they were OK with it, while others said they would not want a gay teammate. Since Bean was a likable guy, his former manager Jim Riggleman said: "he was such a good guy that I think it would have been all right on the club." [citation needed]

He and his current partner live in Miami Beach, FL and develop properties. A film about his life aired on the Showtime cable channel. A charismatic and sincere speaker, Bean has been an active member of the Human Rights Campaign and has spent much of his time speaking to university campuses in an attempt to make athletics a safer place for gay athletes. At the 2014 All-Star Game, Commissioner Bud Selig named him the first Major League Baseball "Ambassador for Inclusion", a job that includes providing training and guidance on diversity issues linked to sexual orientation. A year earlier, MLB had issued its first policy explicitly prohibiting players from harassing and discriminating against others players based on their sexual orientation. On February 10, 2015, the MLB Network aired a documentary entitled: MLB Network Presents: Billy Bean about his life story, starting from his childhood, his decision to leave professional baseball to his current work in promoting inclusion and diversity in sports. In his role as Ambassador for inclusion, he helped minor leaguer David Denson make his decision to come out as the first openly gay player in organized baseball in August 2015. In December of 2015, he was named the "Male Hero of the Year" by Outsports, a web site that defends acceptance of the LGBT community in sports.

In January of 2016, Bean received a promotion form MLB, being named Vice-President for Social Responsibility and Inclusion, while Curtis Pride succeeded him as Ambassador for inclusion. In 2017, he was given the addition title of special assistant to Commissioner Rob Manfred and was put in charge of MLB's anti-bullying efforts in addition to his previous work.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Billy Bean and Chris Bull: Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball, Marlowe & Company, New York, NY, 2003. ISBN 1569244618
  • Billy Bean: "It takes a village: Hoping my story can help others",, February 9, 2015. [1]
  • Alyson Footer: "MLB names Bean its first Ambassador for Inclusion: Former player to provide guidance, training in support of LGBT community in baseball",, July 15, 2014. [2]
  • Chad Thornburg: "Bean named Outsports' Male Hero of Year: MLB Ambassador for Inclusion leads efforts for fair workplace",, December 20, 2015. [3]

Related Sites[edit]