The 2014 inductees for the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame were announced last night during a ceremony held at Chicago’s Center on Halsted. Among the honorees were retired baseball player Billy Bean, an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers, who became one of the first professional athletes to publicly announce he’s gay. Bean quit baseball in 1995, preferring to leave the sport rather than risk being outed.
Tom Daley, 20-year-old British Olympic diver, was also inducted into the Hall of Fame. Daley won the bronze medal for the 10-meter platform dive during the London games. He came out in December 2013 via a widely-watched YouTube video discussing his personal life and commitment to diving. He currently resides in London with his partner, American screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Other honorees include MMA fighter Fallon Fox, former San Francisco mayor George Moscone, the Nike Corportation, retired Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas and retired NBA player John Amaechi.
The foundation was created in 2013, shortly after Jason Collins became the first openly gay and active player in any major American sport. The Hall of Fame, the only of its kind in the country, was established by Billy Gubrud, an events promoter and writer based in Chicago. The foundation has enjoyed the backing of the Chicago Cubs, whose stadium, Wrigley Field, is located in Chicago’s famed gay neighborhood, Boystown. In conjunction with the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, Wrigley Field will host tonight's “Out at Wrigley,” the country’s largest “Gay Day” for a professional sports team.
For more information on the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, go to gayandlesbiansports.com.