National High Five day. High Five invented by gay guy…

Of course it was. The High Five was apparently invented by Glenn Burke a gay baseball player in the 70′s and here is how it came to life. 

There are several accounts of when the high five was invented, but many lead back to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and outfielder Glenn Burke. Known as “King Kong” for his massive biceps and stunning physique, Burke waited on deck for his chance at bat on an October 2, 1977 game against the Houston Astros. Left fielder Dusty Baker just hit his 30th home run, putting them ahead of the Astros and into the playoffs. As his teammate came back from rounding the bases, Burke thrust his hand in the air. Baker felt the instinct to slap palms, and so he did.

“So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do,” said Baker, who is now managing the Cincinnati Reds according to The Week.

Right after, Burke then hit his first major league home run during his at-bat. When he returned to the dugout, Baker gave him a high five. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Burke was known as the “soul” of the Dodger Clubhouse, even while possibly carrying on a relationship with the son of baseball legend and then-Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda. But the older Lasorda Sr. was not pleased by such rumors. He often chewed Burke out and continuously denied that his son was gay. Eventually Burke was later traded to the Oakland A’s where he faced discrimination and harassment from team mates, especially under manager Billy Martin, according to ESPN.

But Burke in 1982, came out to Inside Sports magazine, where writer Michael J. Smith” called the high five a “defiant symbol of gay pride.”

The former outfielder struggled with drugs, and in 1993, he tested positive for HIV. Two years later, he passed away after a rapid decline. His obituary read that at the end of his life, the man who invented the high-five “could barely lift his arm.”

“Now when something great happens in life, people do the high-five,” his sister Lutha Davis says. “I call it ‘the high-five of life.’”

via The Gay History of the High Five | Sports | The Advocate.

  1. Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher
    Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher04-20-2012

    I knew Glenn as a friend and had a cameo in OUT,THE GLENN BURKE STORY. I recommend it to all jocks, Gay or Straight! His MLB career was cut short by his homophobic managers Tommy Lasorta and Billy Martin. He was a good guy, and sadly started to hang around with the wrong crowd after he became addicted to pain killers after a automobile accident. I attended his funeral in 1995.

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