Recently released San Francisco Giants minor leaguer Solomon Bates announced on Instagram that he is gay, becoming the second active minor-league ballplayer to come out publicl, following David Denson in 2015.
Bates, who told Outsports he came out to his teammates in 2019, also included in his post that he was released by the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels.
“Being gay in this sport you don’t know what comes at you!” he wrote. “I thank the giants for giving me the opportunity to be myself and go out there and play the game that I love the most. I’m still in shock on what just happened. But I’m not giving up on what I want to do.”
Bates appeared to have dropped hints on his social media posts before publicly coming out on Tuesday and hopes to blaze a trail for more gay athletes.
“I’m still going to open up doors for gay athletes like me. Still will strive to be one of the greatest to do it,” he wrote. “…Gay men can play a manly sport if you give us a chance to. Thank you giants, you guys made a new fan. But gave me a chip to keep going . I love all the new friends that I’ve made. I’m not going to cry. I’m going to keep pushing.”
Major League Baseball has never had an active player come out publicly. In the NFL, Raiders defensive end came out last summer to become the first openly gay active NFL player. Missouri linebacker Michael Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted in 2014, although he never made an NFL roster.
Bates, 25, was an eighth-round pick for the Giants out of USC in the 2018 MLB Draft. In 23 games in Double-A this season, he posted a 4.02 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings pitched.