It is with great sadness that I write this post, as former Baltimore Orioles great, Mike Flanagan, has passed on. The Orioles have confirmed this tragic news after the 59-year-old Flanagan was discovered on a trail leading to a barn on his Sparks property.
On a personal note, I’ll never forgot as a 10-year-old boy at Oriole Park in Camden Yards, shouting up to the broadcast booth, “Hey Mike!, Hey Mike!” and receiving a genuine smile and wave from one of my great childhood idols.
After two separate stints as one of the teams broadcasters from 1996-1997 and then again from 1999-2002, Flanagan returned to the MASN broadcast booth in 2010.
Aside from his work in the broadcast booth with the club, Flanagan worked as the Orioles pitching coach for two different seasons, 1995 and 1998. He also served in the front office as a baseball operations executive from the 2005-season until his contract expired at the end of 2008.
But he’ll always be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles franchise history. For his career, the southpaw compiled a 167-143 record and 3.90 ERA in 18 seasons with the Orioles and Blue Jays, and won the Cy Young Award in 1979 after going 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA. Flanagan was a key cog to the 1983 Orioles World Series team and despite missing three months, he still managed to post an impressive 12-4 record.
In 1991, Flanagan would be the last Oriole hurler ever to throw a pitch at Memorial Stadium.
In his first year of eligibility (1994), Flanagan was elected to the Orioles’ Hall of Fame. He ranks third in team history in games pitched (450), innings pitched (2,317 2/3) and starts (328), fourth in strikeouts (1,297) and complete games (98), fifth in victories (141), and seventh in shutouts (17).
His death has been reported as an apparent suicide on WNST. As if the story needed to be sadder.
In a statement Wednesday night, Peter Angelos, the Orioles’ managing partner, confirmed the death of Mike Flanagan and had this to say about the career and life of Flanny:
“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him . On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”
Former teammate and current MASN broadcast partner Rick Dempsy had this to say to the Baltimore Sun, regarding the shocking news:
“It’s just shock right now,” said Dempsey. “I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can’t believe it.”
Flanagan is survived by his wife, Alex, and daughters Kathryn, Kerry and Kendall.