First openly gay player to make start in Sonoma

Jun 25, 2015 5:56 PM by Ross Field

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Baseball history will be made in Northern California's wine country Thursday with the appearance of the sport's first openly gay active professional.

Pitcher Sean Conroy is scheduled to take the mound in his first start for the Sonoma Stompers, a 22-man team that's part of the independent Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs.

The Stompers recruited the 23-year-old New York native out of college in May. General Manager Theo Fightmaster says Conroy privately shared his sexual orientation with teammates and management before agreeing to come out publicly in time for the team's home field gay pride night.

Major League Baseball historian John Thorn confirmed that Conroy is the first active professional to come out as gay.

Former pros Glenn Burke and Billy Bean came out after they retired.

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