Minor league first baseman David Denson made baseball history Friday when he publicly announced that he is gay.
Denson, 20, came out in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In the interview, Denson described opening up to his teammates a month ago, and said the announcement was a "giant relief for me."
"Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them," Denson also said. "They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back.'"
According to the Journal Sentinel, Denson came out to his family in the spring.
Denson plays for the Helena Brewers. He joined the team in 2013 and has also played for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers.
The Helena Brewers are affiliated with the Milwaukee Brewers, and Denson's announcement makes him the first out gay baseball player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Minor league pitcher Sean Conroy, of the Sonoma Stompers, came out in June. However, Conroy's team is part of the the independent Pacific Association and is not affiliated with the MLB.
The announcement also comes about a year and a half after then–college football player Michael Sam publicly came out as gay. Sam went on to join the St. Louis Rams and became the first out gay player drafted to a National Football League team. He later joined the Canadian Football League after being dropped from the Rams and, later, Dallas Cowboys' practice squad, but announced Friday that he was "stepping away" from the sport.
Unlike the other major men's sports of basketball and soccer, however, there has never been a publicly out, current player in the MLB.