A high five is a hand gesture that usually happens when a couple of people simultaneously and individually raise a hand nearly as high as their heads and slap, slide or push their palm against the palm of the other. This motion typically occurs after one of them utters “Up high”, “Give me five” or “High five.” Its meaning differs depending on the situation, but it could include a celebration, greeting or a congratulatory remark.
But, who came up with the gesture in the first place?
There are plenty of origin stories surrounding the hand gesture, but the most recognized is the one documented from Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker.
For years, most people believe that the very first high five happened between Los Angeles Dodgers’ Glenn Burke and Dusty Baker on October 2, 1977 in the Dodger Stadium on the last day of the regular season. This was when Dusty Baker hit a home run from J.R. Richard, the Houston Astros pitcher, in the sixth inning.
It was a memorable event because it was the 30th home run of Baker, which made the Dodgers the very first team in history to have four hitters that had at best 30 home runs individually in one season.
Jon Mooallem, a journalist who witnessed the gesture, shared that it was a wild, victorious moment and it meant that the team were headed to the playoffs. Burke was waiting to greet his friend on the deck when he pushed his hand excitedly over his head and Baker, unsure what to do, smacked it in return. In the interview, Baker revealed he felt that it was what he needed to do, since Burke was bending way back.
In fact, Burke was one of the first openly gay professional athlete. He used the famous gesture with other gay inhabitants in the Castro district of San Francisco where it became the symbol of gay pride.