Some very sad news hit yesterday when we learned that Mike Flanagan was dead at only 59 years old. And now today, multiple news outlets are reporting that it was an apparent suicide. I have no idea what might have caused Mike to take his own life but it just makes the news that much harder to accept.
I'm pretty sad about Mike's passing; I had the chance to meet him a handful of times over the years and he always seemed like a pretty nice guy and was known throughout baseball for his dry, witty sense of humor. For some odd reason, I've never done a post about Mike before today, and that makes me feel like I've done an inadequate job with my Orioles blogging over the past few years.
It's hard to rank Mike's exact spot in the Orioles pitching pantheon, except I would say that he's comfortably in the top five, along with Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Mussina, and Mike Cuellar. Flanny was the 1979 A.L Cy Young winner and was a member of the '78 A.L. All-Star team. In the all-time Orioles record books, he ranks third with 450 games pitched and 328 starts, fourth with 1,297 strikeouts and 98 complete games, and fifth with 141 wins.
Mike was involved with the Orioles off and on for the past five decades as a player, pitching coach, general manager and broadcaster. He was one of a small handful of former players who have stayed near the team over so many years and meant a lot to the franchise and the city of Baltimore. RIP Mike. You will be missed.