Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Birthday to Out Former Baseball Player Billy Bean

Billy Bean was born today, May 11, in 1964. He is a former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers (1987–1989), Los Angeles Dodgers (1989), and San Diego Padres (1993–1995). He came out as gay in 1999. Since 2014, he has served as MLB's first Ambassador for Inclusion.

Bean attended Santa Ana High School, and won a state championship with the school's baseball team. He enrolled at Loyola Marymount University on an athletic scholarship to play college baseball for the Loyola Marymount Lions. After his junior year, the New York Yankees selected Bean in the 24th round of the 1985 MLB Draft. Though the Yankees offered Bean a $55,000 signing bonus, Bean followed through with his promise to return to Loyola Marymount for his senior year. Bean appeared with the Lions in the 1986 College World Series.

The Detroit Tigers selected Bean in the fourth round of the 1986 MLB Draft. He signed with the Tigers for $12,500. Bean made his major league debut for the Tigers on April 24, 1987. He spent most of the 1988 season in the minor leagues, where he led the Toledo Mud Hens in batting average; however, he played in 10 games for the Tigers after he was promoted in August 1988. He played in nine games for the Tigers in the 1989 season. On July 17, 1989, the Tigers traded Bean to the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers Steve Green and Domingo Michel. He batted .197 for the Dodgers in 51 games, and was demoted to the minor leagues.

Bean played in Minor League Baseball during the 1990 and 1991 seasons. He played for the Kintetsu Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in 1992. Bean signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres before the 1993 season, and was promoted back to the major leagues. He batted .260 in 88 games for the Padres in 1993, and .215 in 84 games for the Padres in 1994. After playing for the Padres in 1995, Bean opted to retire from baseball after the 1995 season.

Billy Bean married a woman he met when he was 24 years old at Loyola Marymount. The marriage lasted for 3 years. He had his first sexual experience with a man when he was 28 years old. Bean came out as gay to his parents during his time playing for the Padres. He came out publicly to Lydia Martin of the Miami Herald in 1999. He became the second Major League Baseball player to publicly come out as gay. Glenn Burke was the first to come out to his teammates and employers during his playing days, though Burke did not come out to the public at large until his career was over.

Bean moved to Miami Beach, Florida, to be with partner Efrain Veiga, the founder of Yuca restaurant in Miami. Bean and Veiga were together for 13 years; they broke up in July 2008.

Bean lives in Miami and sells real estate. After acknowledging that he is gay, Bean went on to write a book, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in and out of Major League Baseball.

Bean was appointed MLB's first "Ambassador for Inclusion" on July 15, 2014. In this role, Bean counseled David Denson, who became the first minor league player signed to a MLB organization to come out as gay.

From the USA Today in 2016: 
Billy Bean has come full circle, throwing out the first pitch for the first Mets Pride Night on Saturday against his former San Diego team [right].
Bean came out as gay after he left the Padres in 1995. Now he's Major League Baseball's vice president for social responsibility and inclusion. In the past two years, he's talked to all 30 MLB ownership groups, various teams and players about struggling with his sexuality during his career and gay and lesbian inclusion in the workplace.
"The message is everyone is welcome that walks through the turnstiles to watch us play baseball," Bean said. "The LGBT community is part of every community."
Bean is a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation. He also appeared in a 2009 episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, showing Griffin several homes.
He starred in a MTV episode of Made, he was an actor in an episode of the sitcom Frasier and appeared as himself on the HBO series Arli$$ in the 2002 episode "Playing it Safe."

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