1979 Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan, a World Series champ with the 1983 Orioles (above) and winner of 141 games in the majors, was found dead last night in Sparks, MD from police are calling an apparent suicide by shotgun. Flanagan’s passing immediately touched off a minor Twitter controversy, with SBN Nation’s Rob Neyer tweeting that MASN’s Jim Hunter and Jim Palmer “abdicated their responsibility” in refraining from mentioning Flanagan’s death during their coverage of last night’s 6-1 defeat of Minnesota (MASN paid tribute to Flanagan — most recently an Orioles analyst for the network — during their postgame show). While Flanagan’s fans and friends struggle to make sense of his passing, the Baltimore Sun’s Peter Schmuck hopes we’ll recall “all the things he did during a very eventful life and a very impressive athletic career that played out on several stages.”
When his teammates get together to remember him, they’ll remember a guy who loved to have a good time and had a sense of humor that was as sneaky fast as his heater.
He wasn’t a gregarious guy. How many native New Englanders are? But he could level you with his dry wit or drop a line that might end up on all the Internet lists of the best sports quotes. Like the time he was asked if he’d like to play for the Yankees.
“I could never play in New York,” Flanagan replied. “The first time I came into a game there, I got into the bullpen car and they told me to lock the doors.”
Or the time a Toronto Blue Jays reporter asked Flanagan what he did during the Vietnam War.
“I was stationed up here.”
The WBAL report linked in this post’s first sentence quotes the station’s sports director Gerry Sandusky as saying Flannigan was “despondent over the prolonged failure of the Orioles” (Flannigan replaced Syd Thrift as president of baseball operations in 2002, moving to the MASN booth in 2010). Not to make light of a genuine tragedy, but to paraphrase Dentention, why couldn’t it have been Peter Angelos?