Jason Collins Was Not The First Openly Gay Professional Athlete
When NBA center Jason Collins came out as gay in 2013, it sent rainbow-hued shock waves throughout professional sports. The floodgates of acceptance open, it was just two years after Collins that David Denson followed suit and became "the first openly gay active player on a team affiliated with Major League Baseball." Except Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke beat them both to the punch by a good 40 years.
ToppsBaseball cards are notably lacking a "preferred genitalia" stat.
According to both scouts and his coaches, Burke possessed the skills to be the next Willie Mays. But those same coaches -- as well as his teammates, and even the press -- simply weren't ready to accept an openly gay athlete in the late '70s. Though Burke was never secretive about it, sportswriters straight-up refused to acknowledge his sexuality, and coach Tommy Lasorda and team VP Al Campanis even went so far as to attempt to buy Burke straight, offering him $75,000 to engage in a phony marriage. Burke refused, and after only two years with the Dodgers, he was traded to the Oakland A's, where manager Billy Martin introduced him to his new teammates by saying, "Oh, by the way, this is Glenn Burke and he's a faggot."
In Oakland, Burke featured in the starting lineup by day and frequented San Francisco's many fine gay establishments by night. Still, neither the media nor the MLB were willing to recognize his sexuality, and in 1980, a highly conflicted Burke walked away from the sport he loved. Two years later, the media finally acknowledged his struggles when Inside Sports magazine published a lengthy tell-all of his experience.
AP via Huffington Post"So you like dudes, huh? What, uh ... what's that all about, then?"
Sadly, it was too little too late, and Burke passed away in 1995, known not as the man who kickstarted tolerance in pro sports, but as the man who invented the high five ... which, wow, is almost better. Damn, dude, leave some revolutionizing for the rest of us.
Ferdinand Magellan Was Not The First Person To Circumnavigate The Globe
Sixteenth-century Europe was heavily dependent on spices, and cloves and black pepper were literally worth their weight in gold. So when Spain's eastern route to the so-called Spice Islands was blocked by a treaty with Portugal, the Spaniards found themselves adrift in a sea of spoiled meat with no hope of savory rescue. Luckily, Spain had Ferdinand Magellan, who, as any elementary school textbook can tell you, "led the first expedition to sail all the way around the world." In 1519, he and his crew set out to find a western route to the Spice Islands, and obviously they succeeded, because you have like six pounds of spices in your cupboard right now and you don't even know what half of them are.
McCormickYou didn't even know dill weed was an real thing and not just something you call your little brother.