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Ithaca College Screens Film on First Openly Gay Major League Baseball Player

 ITHACA, NY — A documentary about the first openly gay Major League Baseball player will open the spring portion of the Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen film series at Ithaca College. “The Glenn Burke Story” will be shown on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. in Textor 103. It is free and open to the public.

Early in his career, Burke felt he had to hide his true self from his teammates. Later, as he revealed glimpses into his sexuality, the baseball establishment began to close him out. From his Major League debut in 1976 to his abrupt retirement in 1980 from the game that he deeply loved, “The Glenn Burke Story” examines the dramatic career arc of the man credited with inventing the “high five.”

Produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the documentary follows Burke through his public announcement of his homosexuality in a 1982 magazine article (“The Double Life of a Gay Dodger”) and on the “Today” show to his subsequent downward spiral to drugs, prison and eventually living on the same San Francisco streets where he was once hailed as an icon.

The theme for this year’s Out of the Closet and Onto the Screen series is “LGBT People and Sport,” and the showing of “The Glenn Burke Story” is being held in conjunction with Black History Month. The series is sponsored by the Ithaca College Center for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Education, Outreach, and Services, with support provided by the Jack Dembow Charitable Foundation. For more information, visit