It’s no secret how The Hall of Very Good feels about Glenn Burke. Last year, we unveiled an award in his namesake and have written multiple articles and stories to try and bring his story to light. So when I saw the following announcement on the Oakland A’s website, I couldn’t help but feel some serious…feels.
On June 17th, The Oakland A’s will be celebrating the LGBTQ community. If you purchase a special ticket, you’ll receive Oakland A’s “Pride” wristbands. There will also be a tribute to Burke, the first openly gay player in Major League Baseball (and major American sports), and a member of his family will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Parts of the proceeds from this game will go to Frameline and the AIDS Project of the East Bay.
As someone who lobbied very hard for several years to get the story of Burke out into the world, I am beyond thrilled to hear about this…especially considering what the state of Indiana has been up to lately. So my hat goes off to Oakland Vice President and General Manager Billy Beane for simply being a good human being.
The truth is, the LGBTQ community shouldn’t even need their own special night. They are a part of our society and they should be treated like everyone else, but since that is sadly not the case. I applaude Beane and the A’s organization for standing up for what is right. I’m sure that if Burke was still around today, he would be honored.
“It’s just another step by Major League baseball in encouraging diversity within its ranks,” Burke’s biographer Erik Sherman told The Hall. “I think Glenn would find the honor incredible and a bit surreal. For me, as someone that knew him and helped him write his memoirs, it’s bittersweet. On one hand, I think it’s a tremendous tribute to Glenn and his family. But I also think it’s a little sad that he didn’t live to see it.”
So if you live the greater San Francisco/Oakland area, please get your tickets for this terrific event. Hopefully other organizations will follow suit going forward.