- 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

It was October 2, 1977. The Los Angeles Dodgers were up against the Houston Astros on the last game of the regular season. Dodgers’ outfielder Dusty Baker was at bat. He swung and knocked it out of the park, his 30th homerun of the season - making the Dodgers the first team in history to have four position players with 30-plus homeruns each.

But, this story isn’t about those hitters.

"As Baker was rounding the bases, a young rookie came out and just spontaneously threw his hand up in the air, and slapped Baker five," says Mike Jacobs, director of Grantland’s short documentary, "30 for 30: The High Five".

That young rookie was Glenn Burke, outfielder number 12 for the Dodgers. Jacobs says Burke was a young and enthusiastic baseball player, who was just excited to be playing in a major league. He enjoyed making his teammates laugh.

"The Dodgers rallied around the high five and they even trademarked it," says Jacobs. "They made these fliers that they handed out for spring training in the 1980 season."

The Dodgers and their fans eventually moved on.

"Burke soon found himself out of favor in the Dodgers organization, amidst rumors of his sexual orientation," says Jacobs. "He was traded to the Oakland A's."

However, Burke didn’t fit in quite as well during his time with the Oakland Athletics, and within a year was forced out of the game.

Glenn Burke passed away in 1995 from AIDS-related pneumonia. He was 42-years-old.

"Unfortunately, he died too early," says Jacobs. "But really, the high five gives us an opportunity to share his story and to celebrate his legacy in that way."

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow David Gura at @davidgura