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Ousted MLB Soul finally recognized 16 years later…

August 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Last week I watched a very moving documentary - the encore presentation) upon an ex-MLB player named Glen Burke who was basically ‘Outed (Ostracized) from playing this professional sport for openly displaying his Gayness…

As I’d never heard of Mr. Burke before, who at a somewhat slightish six foot-plus (6’ 0-2”) inches and 200lbs could dunk a basketball when standing flatfooted double handed underneath the rim of said hoop! Reputedly leading his Berkley High School Yellowjackets to an undefeated season and the Northern California Championships in 1970, along with being named to the Tournament Of Champions and receiving a California MVP Award; Hmm? Why do his dunking abilities make me think of another sensation nicknamed the “Round Mound of Rebound,” (Basketball) aka Charles Barkley…

Thus, with his basketball prowess, naturally Glen was expected to eventually make his way into the NBA, yet decided that Major League Baseball would garner him a quicker path to stardom, fame and fortune, thus signing a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 1976.

After a short stint in the Minor’s, Burke was called up to the Big Leagues and made his Major League debut for the Dodgers on April 9, 1976 - with the utterly flamboyant rookie outfielder quickly becoming the hit of the locker room - making the players ‘Gel quickly.

Yet, there were concerns with his perceived lifestyle by Dodgers Management and when General Manager Alex Campanis offered to pay him $75,000 to get Married, Burke’s instant reply was; “I guess you mean to a woman?”

And while the ’77 Dodgers would go all the way to the World Series, with the zenith of Burke’s career coming when starting in Game-1 against the eventual World Champion New York Yankees… Glen’s continuous “Open” dating of Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda’s son (Tommy Lasorda Jr.) known as “Spunky” seemingly served as the catalyst for the Dodgers trading of the extremely popular team member to cross-town rivals, the Oakland Athletics.

At the time of his trade, the A’s were a dismal baseball team with Team Manager Billy Martin being given Carte Blanch to resurrect the struggling MLB Franchise… And thus Management simply looked the other way after Martin introduced Glen to the squad during new player’s introduction by telling everybody this is Glen Burke and he’s a Faggot…

Glen played his last Major League Baseball game with the Oakland Athletics - June 4, 1979 and then after spending a year with the A’s Triple-league squad in Utah abruptly retired from professional sports.

After leaving professional baseball, Burke settled into San Francisco’s friendly Castro District for the majority of his remaining life. And along with playing in the Gay Games, winning a Softball World Series and Gold medaling in the Gay Olympics, Glen’s Hollywood lifestyle of Sex, Drugs and Sports eventually caught up with him, as Burke became penniless and destitute - even resorting to a life of petty crime to pay for his extravagant lifestyle, serving a total of seven months in San Quintin prison two separate times.

Upon becoming Homeless and living on the Streets, along with having been diagnosed with AIDS - which was a Death Sentence during the late 1980’s - early 1990’s, Glen found a savior who granted shelter to stricken people with the deadly disease before he spent his dying days in the care of his sister Lutha Davis during 1995.

And while every story or interview I’ve read praises the Oakland A’s coming to his rescue, in which they did establish Glen a line of credit at a San Francisco restaurant, along with buying him a cell phone - only the documentary truly reveals that the Athletics’ action only came about after the club was rightly berated by a local Sports Reporter for 20-minutes over letting an ex-player live on the streets…

And there have reportedly been over 6,000 players taking the field of “America’s Game” since Burke was outed, with only one MLB player coming forward over his Homosexuality since; with Billy Bean divulging his true sexuality in 1999, four years after retiring.

Meanwhile, revered ex-MLB Manager Tommy Lasorda still openly refuses to recognize his son’s true sexuality or that he died from complications of AIDS, not to mention being totally opposed to being interviewed for the documentary…

Tags: MLB Baseball


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