Billy Bean named Outsports' Male Hero Of The Year

Mon. December 21, 2015 10:25 AM by

Outsports on Friday named Billy Bean its Male Hero of the Year.

The 51-year-old Bean is a former professional baseball player who played as an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres.

In 1999, roughly four years after he retired from the sport, Bean publicly announced he's gay.

Bean returned to Major League Baseball last year to become the league's first "ambassador for inclusion." In this role, Bean advised minor league player David Denson on his decision to come out.

"This year Bean has demonstrated a deep understanding of how to truly shift the culture of a sports league, and Major League Baseball has given him all the resources and access he needs to execute it," Outsports editors wrote. "The result of his efforts? In the last 18 months, four front-office executives, one ball boy, one umpire and two Minor League players – one current and one former – have come out publicly. That bests the other four Big Five sports leagues combined. Bean has been at the center of it all, creating a support network within baseball – and reaching other sports – that will bear fruit for years to come."

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine