The story of baseball’s first openly gay player airs tonight

A documentary about Major League Baseball’s first openly gay player debuts Tuesday night at 10 p.m. ET on Versus, the network that will soon be known as NBC Sports Network. (The documentary will repeat on Saturday at 11 p.m. and Aug. 17 at 11; it previously aired on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, which produced it.)

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,” according to the network, which notes that “[m]any of those teammates believe that Burke’s sexuality led to the premature derailment of his baseball career.”

Former baseball player Billy Bean calls him “a pioneer,” but as former Dodgers outfielder Reggie Smith says in the film, “at that time period, it was a kiss of death for a ballplayer. He would’ve been excused from the game, so to say.”

Watch the trailer:

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Dick Donato

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Also: Dick claims he had no choice but to leave the game.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.