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The Recommender

The Surprisingly Emotional Story Of The Man Who Invented The High Five

One-time Los Angeles Dodger Glenn Burke is credited for the universal gesture for a job well done. His own life was more complicated.

At the very end of the Los Angeles Dodgers's 1977 season, Dusty Baker hit his 30th home run. As he ran triumphantly across home plate, enthusiastic rookie Glenn Burke, waiting on deck, held his hand up high, signaling for Baker to give him the first-ever high five.

That instinct for how to instantly celebrate a perfect feeling of victory is what made Burke, by his teammates' accounts, the "life of the team," and the gesture is now a universal expression of positivity. (Read more on the history of the high five here.) But Burke's story is much darker and more poignant. The open secret that he was gay doomed his career, and he quit baseball just a few years later.

In this ESPN 30 For 30 short, Baker, along with other players and historians, recount Burke's story and his enduring legacy of high spirits and camaraderie.