David Denson

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David Denson
First baseman / Outfielder
Born: (1995-01-17) January 17, 1995 (age 23)
La Puente, California
Bats: Left Throws: Right

David Lamont Denson (born January 17, 1995) is an American former professional baseball first baseman and outfielder. He played in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) for the Milwaukee Brewers organization. In 2015, Denson became the first active player affiliated with a Major League Baseball organization to publicly come out as gay.

Career[edit]

Denson attended Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, California, for his freshman year, and then transferred as sophomore to South Hills High School in West Covina, California.[1] He committed to play college baseball for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. As a high school senior in December 2012, Denson hit a 515-foot (157 m) home run (HR) in an annual amateur home run derby, topping the 502 feet (153 m) record of Bryce Harper from 2009. The shot showcased his power potential, and he proceeded to win the contest with 19 home runs, including three that travelled over 500 feet (150 m).[2][3][4] A YouTube video of his record homer went viral, drawing over one million viewers.[1][5] Denson played high school baseball in 2013 for the first time since his freshman year, though he had been competing for the ABD Academy, a baseball academy in San Bernardino.[1][6][7] He was a Sierra League first-team selection after leading South Hills to a league championship while batting .446 with seven HRs, 11 doubles, two triples and 27 runs batted in (RBIs).[8]

The Milwaukee Brewers selected him in the 15th round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Wary of being ineligible for the draft for another three years if chose to play for Hawaii, Denson opted instead to play professionally,[9] signing with Milwaukee for $100,000.[10] He played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers of the Class A Midwest League for most of 2014, where he had a .243 batting average with four home runs and 29 RBIs in 68 games.[11][12] He began the 2015 season with Wisconsin, and after batting .195 with one home run and eight RBIs in 24 games, he was demoted to the Helena Brewers of the Rookie-level Pioneer League.[11] With Helena, Denson was selected to play in the Northwest–Pioneer League All-Star Game, where he was honored as the MiLB.com Top Star for the Pioneer League after hitting a pinch hit home run while going 2-for-3 along with two RBIs and two runs scored.[12][13][14] In late August, the Brewers promoted Denson back to Wisconsin.[15]

After playing primarily as a first baseman through the 2015 season, Denson became an outfielder for the 2016 season.[16] He began the 2016 season with Wisconsin, and was promoted to the Brevard County Manatees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League. During spring training in 2017, Denson announced his retirement from professional baseball.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Denson's father, Lamont, is a former athlete. His sister, Celestine, is a professional dancer.[18]

During the 2015 season, while playing for Helena, Denson came out as gay to his teammates. In August 2015, with the help of Billy Bean, Major League Baseball's (MLB) Ambassador for Inclusion, Denson contacted the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel so that he could come out publicly. Denson became the first active player within a Major League Baseball organization to do so.[18][19] He was also the second active pro baseball player to have come out.[a]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sean Conroy was the first to come out in June 2015, when he was playing in an independent league for the Sonoma Stompers.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Robledo, Fred J. (January 3, 2013). "Video: South Hills High's David Denson, 17, hits 515-foot home run at Florida competition". dailynews.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "High School slugger David Denson mashes 515-foot homer at Marlins Park in Miami (Video)". Yahoo Sports. January 2, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "17-Year-Old Baseball Player From West Covina Hits 515-Foot HR At Marlins Park". cbslocal.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  4. ^ Gruman, Andrew (June 8, 2013). "Brewers shore up farm system through MLB Draft". FoxSports.com. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015.
  5. ^ Rodig, Ryan (July 23, 2014). "Record-Holder Denson Brings Power Potential to Rattlers". WeAreGreenBay.com. Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  6. ^ Sondheimer, Eric (January 8, 2013). "Baseball: Palisades infielder Elliott Barzilli won't play for team". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  7. ^ Daniel, P. K. (May 21, 2012). "Alternative to high school baseball". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Robledo, Fred J. (June 13, 2014). "2013 All-Area Baseball Team: South Hills' Adrian De Horta leads San Gabriel Valley Tribune picks". Los Angeles Daily News. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Woods, Mike (April 27, 2014). "Timber Rattlers profile: David Denson brings big power to field". Post-Crescent. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  10. ^ McDaniel, Kiley (March 19, 2015). "Evaluating the Prospects: Milwaukee Brewers". Fangraphs. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "David Denson, Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer, is first openly gay professional baseball player". ESPN.com. Associated Press. August 15, 2015. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  12. ^ a b Stalwick, Howie (August 5, 2015). "Northwest League-Pioneer All-Star Game A Success". BaseballAmerica.com. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  13. ^ Collingword, Ryan (August 4, 2015). "Denson enjoys All-Star experience". Helena Independent Record. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  14. ^ Ravich, Jared (August 5, 2015). "Van Gansen delivers All-Star walk-off win". MiLB.com. Archived from the original on August 18, 2015.
  15. ^ Froberg, Tim (August 25, 2015). "Openly gay player returns to T-Rats". Appleton Post-Crescent. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
  16. ^ Maun, Tyler (March 16, 2016). "Brewers' Denson shifts focus to defense: After historic 2015 season, Milwaukee slugger moving to the outfield". MiLB.com. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  17. ^ Wild, Danny (March 21, 2017). "Brewers' Denson announces retirement: Milwaukee infielder was affiliated baseball's lone openly gay player". MiLB.com. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  18. ^ a b c Tom Haudricourt. "Brewers minor-leaguer makes baseball history by coming out publicly as gay". jsonline.com. Retrieved August 16, 2015.
  19. ^ Daniel, Victor (August 17, 2015). "David Denson, Gay Minor Leaguer, Has Power but Faces Long Odds". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 21, 2015.

External links[edit]