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Best in Baltimore: Remembering Mike Flanagan

One week ago we were faces with the sad news that former Orioles great Mike Flanagan took his own life. Reports came out that Flanagan struggled to deal with a local perception that he was the reason the Orioles have had so many problems from his time as the Orioles general manager.

There are so many questions left to be answered about why the beloved member of the Baltimore community took his life but in this weeks “Best in Baltimore” So Much Sports is going to remember the great moments that lead to him becoming one of the most popular players in Baltimore sports history.

For 15 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles Mike Flanagan took the mound 450 times and won 141 games. In those appearances Flanagan pitched 2,317 2/3 innings and struck out 1,297 batters. It sounds like just a bunch of numbers but he was the third most used pitcher in team history, and fifth winningest pitcher in the franchise’s history; considering that the Orioles have had some absolutely tremendous pitchers in their history, like Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Scott McGregor, Mike Mussina, and others, that’s pretty elite company.

While Flanagan had somewhat of an up and down career and never quite blossomed into a Hall of Fame type pitchers he was definitely one of the best in his era. In 1978 Flanagan was selected to his only All-Star game after he started 40 games and one 19. He carries that tremendous amount of success into the next season where he won 23 games and took home the Cy Young award.

As an Oriole Flanagan had seven seasons in which he won more than 10 games and had eight winning seasons while wearing the Black and Orange.

On October 6, 1991 in the last game at Memorial Stadium, which was the home of the Orioles since 1954, Flanagan, a starter, was called in, in the ninth inning so he could be the last Orioles pitcher to throw a pitch there, an honor that only he can possibly hold.

After he retired in 1992 Flanagan jumped into broadcasting and inserted his great wealth of knowledge on air as well has hit humor and wit. That’s one thing that really made him popular. Even just before his death Flanagan was still a funny guy on air. The game before the Orioles got in a fight with the Boston Red Sox Buck Showalter called a team meeting and when asked about when Earl Weaver called a team meeting Flanagan joked that he would only call them before Jim Palmer was scheduled to pitch because they were guaranteed to win and Weaver’s speech would be cemented.

After a few stints as a broadcaster Flanagan was hired as the Orioles general manager. While the Orioles were not an incredible success under Flanagan, it is impossible to pin the blame sole on him, a belief that may have lead to his suicide.

In a recent article by the USA Today talking about how Andy MacPhail is expected to leave the Orioles after the season Buck Showalter said “This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”

Anybody who truly followed the Orioles knows that the woes of the Orioles are not completely Flanagan’s fault. Many people are saying that Flanagan struggled as the general manager because he could not run the team the way he wanted, something that does not come as a shock to anybody. But while he was the general manager Flanagan did get some very good players on the Orioles roster, including Miguel Tejada, Sammy Sosa, Aubrey Huff, and Jeremy Guthrie.

Flanagan’s death left many in shock and many people with questions and many people with sadness. He was a staple in the Baltimore Sports community and gave many people some fond memories of the days when the Orioles were the best team in baseball.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.
One Response to “Best in Baltimore: Remembering Mike Flanagan”
  1. Nice article, but…

    “…Flanagan did get some very good players on the Orioles roster, including Miguel Tejada, Sammy Sosa, Aubrey Huff, and Jeremy Guthrie.”

    Really? Sosa was a very good player when he joined the O’s?