Mike Flanagan was found dead yesterday.
That's all I know about his death. No doubt over the next few days we will find out more. And I truly hope none of the details will be lurid. But nothing will be more shocking than his being dead.
When I was just starting to understand baseball and the different teams and their players, Mike Flanagan was a major figure.
He was the Cy Young winner in 1979, the first year that I REALLY followed baseball. And there was a sense that he was quite simply THE MAN.
A left handed stud, he pitched in the 1979 World Series, the first one I remember watching. He was a member of the 1983 World Champion Orioles and, later in his career as a reliever, took part in the last no hitter in Orioles history.
The former All Star pitched with the Blue Jays in the 1989 ALCS but finished his career with Baltimore. He was so beloved by the fans that they chanted "WE WANT FLANAGAN!" during the final game at Memorial Stadium.
He did indeed come out to pitch in that game.
The former U. Mass product and native New Englander was a great basketball player, a husband and father whose daughter was an early test tube baby and the first to be born without a C-Section.
He was known for a fast wit and being loved by his former teammates. He was a Vice President of the Orioles, a coach and a broadcaster in Baltimore.
He had the success and respect and fame that most of can only dream of.
And now he is gone.
According to WBAL TV in Baltimore, Flanagan felt that he was perceived as failing the team during his front office days.
I hope this had nothing to do with his death. He was a real champion and one of the great faces of the last great Orioles team.
And as a child, made a hell of an impression on me.
Rest in peace, Mike Flanagan.
Your legacy is secure with every Baltimore fan.
Before the unpleasant details become known, let's look back at that 1983 team... the team that won it all and made Flanagan a champion then and forever.