South Bend
49° F
Overcast
Overcast
Advertisement

MLB hires Bean as 'Ambassador for Inclusion'

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 15 2014 07:31:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 16 2014 09:35:56 AM CDT
Baseballs, sports, MLB

In the wake of Jason Collins becoming the first openly gay NBA player and Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player selected in the NFL Draft, Major League Baseball took a step toward promoting gay rights Tuesday when it appointed Billy Bean as its first "Ambassador for Inclusion."

Bean, a journeyman major-leaguer in the late 1980s and 1990s, came out as gay following his playing career.

The announcement was made by commissioner Bud Selig and Lutha Burke, the sister of late major league outfielder Glenn Burke. During his playing career, Glenn Burke came out as gay to teammates and team owners, then later made the announcement publically.

According to MLB, Bean will be charged with advising and training teams in the major leagues and minor leagues to support members of the gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender communities. He also will produce educational initiatives opposing sexism, homophobia and prejudice.

"Major League Baseball is delighted that Billy, a member of the baseball family, will advise and represent our sport on a wide range of matters," Selig said in a statement. "As a social institution, our game has important social responsibilities. To this day, the vibrant legacy of Jackie Robinson revolves around inclusion, respect and equal opportunity. I believe that Billy will help us proactively cultivate those fundamental principles, and he will serve as a significant resource to our Clubs, current and future players and many others throughout our game."

Bean added in a statement, "MLB continues to lead by example with its social conscience and vision. It is our mission to create an equitable working environment, free of discrimination and prejudice for every player, coach, umpire, and member of the MLB family.

"As a young man, I silently walked away from baseball for all the wrong reasons, and today I am truly humbled that the Commissioner's Office has brought me back to lead the effort on inclusion. I will honor baseball's great tradition, and be the resource that our current and future players need as they embrace their responsibility as role models to our fans."

Bean, 50, played outfield for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. He compiled a career .226 average with a .266 on-base percentage, a .308 slugging percentage, five homers and 53 RBIs in 272 games.

Bean is no relation to Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, who also was a journeyman outfielder in the 1980s.