Originally Published: Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated Wire Service
Sean Conroy became the first openly gay baseball player to appear in a professional game on Thursday.
Conroy pitched nine scoreless innings to lead the Sonoma Stompers to a 7-0 win over the Vallejo Admirals in the Pacific Association of Baseball Clubs, an independent league featuring teams from Northern California.
The Stompers' general manager, Theo Fightmaster, told the Associated Press that the team did not make a special announcement so that Conroy could focus on his start. According to Fightmaster, Conroy told teammates and management about his sexual orientation and agreed to come out on the Stompers' Pride Night.
"It's not that I wanted it to go public, but I didn't care if it was open information. It's who I am," Conroy said, according to the AP. "I am definitely surprised that no one else has been openly gay in baseball yet."
Conroy, a native of Clifton Park, N.Y., graduated from Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2015. The 23-year-old made appearances as a relief pitcher before debuting as a starter on Thursday.