NEW YORK--(Out. The Glenn Burke Story,” which documents Burke’s legacy as the first openly gay Major League Baseball player, will have its national premiere on VERSUS on Tuesday, August 9, at 10 p.m. ET. Nominated for a Northern California Area Emmy Award and a nominee for Outstanding Documentary at the 22nd Annual GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards, “Out. The Glenn Burke Story” originally premiered on and was produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area last November.)--“
VERSUS will provide encore presentations of the documentary on Saturday, August 13, at 11 p.m. ET and Wednesday, August 17, at 11 p.m. ET
Glenn Burke, the first openly gay Major League Baseball player, ended his journey through baseball where it began, in Oakland, California. His sports career had many stops along the way, starting as a multi-sport star at Berkeley High School, followed by a stint at the University of Nevada, Reno as a prized basketball recruit, and then into professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was hailed by one coach as “the next Willie Mays.” Early in his career, Burke felt he had to hide his true self from his teammates. Later, when he began to reveal glimpses into his sexuality, the baseball establishment began to shut him out.
“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” tells the dramatic tale of Burke’s Major League career as an outfielder for the Dodgers and as a starter in Game One of the 1977 World Series, to being traded to the Oakland Athletics the following season, and then walking away in 1980 from the game that he deeply loved. Many of Burke’s teammates were aware of his homosexuality during his playing career, as were members of management. Many of those teammates believe that Burke's sexuality led to the premature derailment of his baseball career.
“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” explores the wedge that was driven between Burke and the Los Angeles Dodgers management, the ensuing similar situation in Oakland that led to Burke’s abrupt retirement, and the hero’s welcome that Burke received in San Francisco’s Castro District after he left professional baseball. The documentary follows him through his public announcement of his homosexuality in a 1982 Inside Sports magazine article and on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, to his downward spiral after his split from baseball, a split that drove Burke to drugs and prison, and eventually to living on the same San Francisco streets where he was once recognized as an icon.
Burke’s story took on another level of tragedy when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. At the end of Burke’s life, the game that he claimed had abandoned him so many years before reached out to one of its own. The Oakland A’s found Burke and provided him with constant support in his final months, as did some of his former teammates. “Out. The Glenn Burke Story” features numerous interviews with Burke’s teammates and friends, including Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Rickey Henderson, Claudell Washington, Mike Norris, Shooty Babitt, Tito Fuentes, and former Major Leaguer and gay rights activist Billy Bean.
“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” trailer available at:
VERSUS, part of the NBC Sports Group, prides itself on super-serving passionate sports fans across all platforms. Now in more than 76 million homes, the network is the cable television home of the National Hockey League (NHL), IZOD IndyCar Series, Tour de France and Professional Bull Riders (PBR). VERSUS also airs NASCAR, NBA, UFC, college football, college basketball and Triple Crown horse racing coverage. The network is also home to the best outdoor programming on television. VERSUS is distributed via cable systems and satellite operators throughout the United States.