Former Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy publicly revealed on Saturday that he is gay, ending a 30-year period in his life where he hid his sexuality.
McClatchy, who is the heir of a newspaper chain, led a group of investors who bought the Pirates in 1996. At age 33, he became the youngest owner in baseball. He said he kept his sexuality a secret during the period he owned the team because he did not think he would be accepted in baseball circles if it were known he was gay. He specifically told The New York Times that hearing homophobic language during his days in baseball convinced him to keep his sexuality a secret.
As he approaches 50, McClatchy decided to come out publicly. He said it was extremely difficult to keep his sexuality private.
“I think I was more paranoid, for sure, about people,” he told The New York Times. “And suspicious, definitely. And angry.”
McClatchy’s partner says he is still guarded and cautious. The two were introduced through an officer in Rick Santorum’s office.
McClatchy, who sold his ownership shares in the Pirates in 2009, helped get PNC Park financed and built, and ensured the team would stay in Pittsburgh when he sold. The team has not had a winning season since 1992.
The former Pirates owner is hoping his revelation will lead to progress in baseball.
“I don’t think they equate breaking the color barrier with Jackie Robinson to, ‘Hey, by the way, we’ve never had one player announce they’re gay while playing baseball.’
“You’re not going to solve any problem until you start a dialogue,” he said. “And there’s no dialogue right now.”