Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mike Flanagan, 1982 Topps #520

I intended to take this week off from the blog, but these are bizarre and unfortunate circumstances. At 4:26 this afternoon, police were called to Mike Flanagan's property in Sparks, MD, with reports of a male body being spotted on the trail to his barn. Hours later, it was confirmed that the body was identified as Flanagan, age 59. Details are still few and far between, but Baltimore has lost a star pitcher, a coach, a front office executive, and a broadcaster all in one. More importantly, his family lost a husband and father. There's nothing I can tell you about Flanny's playing career that you won't hear elsewhere: 1979 Cy Young Award winner, 3 postseason victories, 12-4 with a 3.30 ERA for the 1983 champs, combined with 3 other pitchers to no-hit Oakland in 1991, was the last O's pitcher on the mound in Memorial Stadium, fifth in team history with 141 wins.

I'll tell you a bit about what Mike Flanagan means to me. The second entry I ever wrote on this blog was about him, and a card that had been in my possession for as long as I could remember. Each of the past two years, he was in the MASN broadcast booth for the network's blogger event at Camden Yards. He took time out of his pregame routine to meet with our ragtag group and answer our questions. He was casual and warm, and shared some entertaining stories from his long Oriole career. This past June, we were running behind schedule and he still took time away from his pregame meal to spend a few minutes with us. It was truly appreciated.

Hats off to Mike Flanagan. I've never heard anyone say a bad word about him, and I hope this story doesn't get sadder.


Randy said...

Shocking! I just finished watching the Os beat the Twins for the third straight night and nothing was mentioned of this. A sad day for the Os family, and even more so, Flanagan's family - my prayers go out to all his family.

jacobmrley said...

Nope, sorry, it gets sadder:

Police did not immediately identify the cause of death, but sources confirmed that Flanagan took his own life "despondent over what he considered a false perception from a community he loved of his role in the team's prolonged failure," Sandusky said.

The soft-spoken and well-liked left-hander grew over the years into a fixture in the Orioles organization. From 2002-08 Flanagan shared or held the top baseball executive position in the organization. During that time Flanagan, according to those closest to him, struggled with not being able to the job the way he wanted to do it, Sandusky said.

A relative confirmed that Flanagan has wrestled for some time now with the perception of fans and colleagues alike of his role in the team's failures.


Rounding Thirty 3rd said...


Thank you for posting, I was hoping you would in light of these tragic events.

A huge loss for the Oriole family and fandom. My prayers for his family.

Chris said...

Thanks for the post Kevin, it's good to hear that Flanny always had time for the bloggers.

Commishbob said...

Hard to imagine how much pain someone must be going through to reach the point that Mike Flanagan did.

He was our best pitcher during the years my 'fandom' was at it's highest and I saw him pitch so many big games. Such a sad day.

Kevin said...

Randy - They said that MASN chose not to mention it during the broadcast because the police were still notifying his family. There was a very heartfelt postgame tribute from Jim Palmer, Rick Dempsey, et. al.

Max - It did get sadder. The important thing for people to remember is that the Orioles aren't a cause of suicide - depression is.

Tim and Chris - Thanks.

Bob - I can't imagine the effect that something like this has on his friends and family, who might be wondering what they could have done to help.