Michael Sam and 7 Other Historic Firsts on the Field

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4. Sir Barton


Getty Images

“Sir Barton” may sound like variant of English breakfast tea, but it’s actually the name of the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakesor what would later be called, the Triple Crown.

5. Jason Collins


This year NBA all-starJason Collins became the first openly gay player in any of U.S.’s four major pro leagues after signing with the Brooklyn Nets, paving the way for the likes of Michael Sam and other openly gay players.

6. John L. Sullivan

John L. Sullivan

American History Archive

He might not be on your box of Wheaties, but heavyweightboxing champion John L. Sullivan is considered America’s first “sports celebrity,” after losing only 1 of his almost 40 career fights in the late 1800s.