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Bean, Billy (b. 1964)  
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About two weeks later the Tigers were on the road against the California Angels, Bean's "hometown heroes." His family and friends came out in force, bearing banners in the stands. To their--and his--delight, he acquitted himself well.

Bean had made it to the parent club partly because the Tigers' star outfielder Kirk Gibson was on the disabled list. When Gibson returned, Bean got fewer opportunities to start games, usually coming in as a pinch-hitter or late-inning defensive replacement. At mid-season the Tigers sent him back to Toledo so that he could play on a more consistent basis and continue to develop his skills.

Bean remained with the Tigers organization, "shuttling back and forth between Detroit and Toledo." The Tigers were using him as a utility player rather than a position player, which significantly compromised his prospects for advancement with the club. In July 1989, during one of his stints with Toledo, his agent, Dennis Gilbert, called with the news that he had been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Shortly after arriving in California, Bean met with Gilbert and mentioned his need to find lodging. To his surprise, the agent suggested "that apartment building you own." Unbeknownst to Bean, Gilbert had invested his and several other clients' money in a property eventually to be converted into condominiums. Bean moved into the building, "located right in the heart of West Hollywood, the gayest neighborhood in L. A."

Bean's girlfriend, Amato, moved in with him, to the disapproval of her parents. Bean proposed that they marry at the end of the baseball season.

Amato signed the two of them up for a membership at a local gym, where, Bean wrote, he "learned the definition of '.'" He began making friends with other gay men. He was still in denial, yet taking very tentative steps to acknowledge his homosexuality. On a road trip to San Francisco, he took a cab to the Castro, where, hiding in the back seat, he "was amazed to find a place where men walked hand in hand."

He did not find the courage to get out of the cab on that visit, but on the team's return to San Francisco later that season, he went to a bookstore, intending to peruse the offerings on homosexuality. When a Dodger teammate walked into the store, however, he ducked into a video booth and waited for the man to leave. Bean felt, he wrote, "wracked with shame" and without "the slightest idea how to reconcile my desires with my life inside or outside of the game."

Bean's manager in Los Angeles was baseball legend Tommy Lasorda, whose only son died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, Bean's last year with the Dodgers. Lasorda adamantly denied that his son had been gay or had died of AIDS.

Lasorda took to Bean and "whenever he found himself in shouting distance, he would announce, for all to hear, 'Billy Bean, Billy Bean, the boy of every girl's dream.'" The handsome Bean was uncomfortable with this paean to his supposed heterosexuality, as well as with his manager's jokes and his denial of his son's sexual orientation, but he never spoke up.

While the drama of the Lasordas, father and son, unfolded, Bean was reconnecting with his biological father, who had followed his career, and upon meeting him after decades of absence, expressed pride in his accomplishments. Shortly after their reunion, the elder Bean died of a massive heart attack.

In 1992, the Dodgers sold Bean's contract to the Kenetsu Buffaloes in Japan, where he spent "a miserable nine-month stint" before his agent got him a minor-league contract with the San Diego Padres for the 1993 season.

Upon returning to the United States, Bean began frequenting gay bars and exploring his true sexuality, but it was in a gym that he found a romantic partner, Sam Madani, an Iranian whose family had fled their native country. He met Madani in January 1993 while Bean and his wife were visiting her parents in suburban Washington, D. C.

Bean had discovered true love. He still had affection for his wife and was loathe to cause her pain, but he realized that he could not remain in the marriage. They separated and began divorce proceedings.

Bean began the next season at the Padres' triple-A club in Las Vegas but was soon called up to the majors again. "Eager to put down roots," he bought a house in Del Mar, and Madani moved to California from Washington, D. C.

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