Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mike Flanagan 1951-2011

So sorry to hear of Mike Flanagan’s passing. He was only 59. I got to know him during my year broadcasting for the Orioles. After his playing career he worked in the front office for the Orioles and recently did color commentary on their TV broadcasts. He was beloved in Baltimore… and for good reason.

In my book about my year with the Orioles (IT’S GONE!…NO, WAIT A MINUTE) this is one of the sections I wrote about Flanny.

For all the hoopla regarding the Jim Palmer comeback, Mike Flanagan, at thirty-nine, who toiled for the Orioles from ’75 to ’87 and won the Cy Young Award in ’79, actually has a chance to make this ball club. Last year he was released by Toronto. In August he attended Jim Palmer’s induction ceremony into the Hall of Fame and bumped into Orioles’ GM Roland Hemond, who told him to call if he was ever interested in giving it another try. Roland’s phone rang this winter. Flanagan is a wonderful guy – great personality and (unusual for ballplayers) genuinely funny. On Toronto’s retractable roof he once remarked: “I wish it had retractable fences.” On teammate Mike Boddicker’s fastball after Boddicker had just pitched a game in Toronto, Flanagan observed: “We had him throwing eighty-eight miles per hour on the radar gun, but with the Canadian exchange rate, it was only eight-three.”

59. Way too young. He should not only still be alive, he was a lefty – he should still be pitching. RIP Mike Flanagan.

9 comments:

Barney Rex said...

A-men, RIP.

SkippyMom said...

This is so sad. What I find so fascinating about Mr. Flanagan is that he was a Harvard graduate, but still played the game he loved.

There aren't many college grads in the league these days. He was very refreshing.

He will be missed.

Jeff Badge said...

What does a former professional athlete do in the "front office" of a ball club?

Melissa Banczak said...

When I heard about his passing, you were the first person I thought of. I'm so sorry for yours and baseballs loss.

Mike Barer said...

A sad tragedy.

John said...

WBAL TV is reporting Flanagan may have committed suicide due to despondency over the 15 year history of futility for the organization. Don't know if it's true or not on the suicide, but Peter Angelos really is the Donald T. Sterling of Major League Baseball. The long-dead Edward Bennett Williams would still make a far better owner of the O's that Angelos.

Tim Dunleavy said...

I heard a commentator (whose name I didn't catch) talking about Flanagan on yesterday's "Mike and Mike" show on ESPN Radio. He told a story I liked: In 1991, Dick Cheney - who was then Secretary of Defense, riding high on the success of Operation Desert Storm - attended a game at Camden Yards when Flanagan was pitching. Afterwards, Flanagan said "I got a bigger ovation than Dick Cheney. And he had a better Spring than me!"

mike said...

I noted on another website Mr. Flanagan's sad passing. I then made the mistake of reading some of the comments, and I was frankly disgusted. Wave after wave of self-righteous judging along the lines of 'I've had hard times and I'm still here so I must be better than him' and 'I've been out of work and broke for two years but god will fix it, mf was so weak' and other such foolishness. Okay, all you jerks have all the answers about everyone else's lives, let's just get god to abdicate and you can take over, ok? Walk a mile in someone else's shoes first, why don't you? Also D. Cheney is a war criminal and should be treated as such. But since he lied repeatedly to justify torture and mass murder in service of the Empire, he has de facto immunity forever. So you tell me--is there something wrong with a country where lying about an affair is an impeachable offense, but butchering and abusing uncounted thousands of people is not?

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Mike...good point about Dick Cheney, but this is not the place to display that comment.