May 11, 1964 |
Santa Ana, California
|April 25, 1987, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|July 8, 1995, for the San Diego Padres|
|Runs batted in||53|
William Daro "Billy" Bean (born May 11, 1964) is an American 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), as well as the Kintetsu Buffaloes of Nippon Professional Baseball in 1992.
Bean was born to Linda Robertson, who was 18 years old, and Bill Bean, who were classmates at Santa Ana High School in Santa Ana, California. The couple married while Linda was pregnant, but separated when Billy was six months old. Linda married Ed Kovac, a police officer, and they had five children together.
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 whom he met at Loyola Marymount, when he was 24 years old. The marriage lasted for three 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 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.
Bean was a panelist on GSN's I've Got A Secret revival in 2006, and is a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation. He appeared in a 2009 episode of Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, showing Griffin several homes.
In the summer of 2007, it was announced that he had been hired as a consultant by Scout Productions, the team of David Collins and Michael Williams, who produced Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, for their next project with Showtime entitled The Beard. The project is a romantic comedy about a gay professional baseball player who enters into a relationship with a woman in order to survive in the sports world.
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- Bugg, Sean (May 15, 2003). "Out of the Park: Former pro-baseball player Billy Bean pursues a new field of dreams". Metro Weekly. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
- Maury Brown. "MLB Names Former Major League Outfielder Billy Bean As First". Forbes. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- Tom Haudricourt. "Brewers minor-leaguer makes baseball history by coming out publicly as gay". jsonline.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
- "Meet Billy Bean, Major League Baseball's Gay Rights Ambassador". Details. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- "Billy Bean (I)".