Say this for Brady Anderson: He's got admirers. Anderson's speed and power appeal to baseball purists, and his looks have helped make the Orioles' outfielder an idol to teen girls and something of an icon in the gay community. Out magazine reports that Anderson, 35, "has amassed an almost eerily loyal following" among gay men in Internet chat rooms. Their ardor may have been kindled by a poster of him that's available on his official Web site, www.bradyanderson.net. Anderson's bachelorhood, long sideburns, chiseled physique and beefcake pose in that poster shot (right) have inspired fans who might have ogled singer/ underwear model Marky Mark a few years back.
Not that there's anything wrong with that—except in the occasionally Cro-Magnon world of men's pro sports. The only openly gay player in big league history, Glenn Burke, believed his four-year career ended prematurely in 1979 because of baseball's homophobia, so it would be understandable for a ballplayer to want to distance himself from gay culture. Asked about his gay fans last week, Anderson—who has been romantically linked to actress Ashley Judd and tennis pro Amanda Coetzer—wouldn't comment.