Originally Published: ESPN Radio 104.5 FM - The Team
Brady Farkas, Reporter
On Thursday night in Northern California, a local product made baseball history.
Shenendehowa graduate Sean Conroy, who is also an RPI product, became the first openly gay player in professional baseball. He plays for the Sonoma Stompers, an independent team.
Conroy had 11 strikeouts and allowed just three hits in a Stompers win.
Conroy earned the start on “Pride Night,” and had immediate support from his teammates, the local community, and his coaching staff.
“It’s great they cheered for him,” Nancy Dito said of the warm reception for Conroy in an ESPN.com article. “I think it’s courageous and wonderful he’s doing this.”
However, Conroy, who was a DIII All-American at RPI, is here because he is a dang good baseball player.
“He’s here because he can pitch. He’s here because he deserves a chance to pitch professionally. This isn’t some sort of sideshow. He’s here because he can get guys out,” Theo Fightmaster, the vice president and general manager of the Sonoma Stompers said to ABC7 News.
“It doesn’t matter if he pitches in the big leagues or not; he’s going to become a leader (tonight) in many ways,” said Billy Bean, Oakland A’s general manager, who came out as gay after his playing career ended.