Former Baltimore Orioles lefthander and Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan was found dead Wednesday afternoon near his Baltimore home, according to an AP report for Yahoo sports, from what the Maryland medical examiner ruled as suicide — a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head.
Flanagan, one of the stars of a fine Orioles staff of the late 1970s and early 1980s, was the ace of the 1979 staff going 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA and was a prominent part of the Orioles’ pitching rotation which brought them to the 1983 World Series where they beat the Phillies by 4 games to 1.
The Baseball Library site provides these notes about Flanagan:
Armed with a big-breaking curveball, an underrated fastball and a great pickoff move, Flanagan strung together a decade of formidable pitching after losing his first five major-league decisions. From 1977 to 1987, he started more games (334) than any other AL pitcher and posted a .500 or better record each season from 1977 to 1984.
Flanagan suffered a severe knee injury in 1983 (though he returned to win 12 games and make a pair of post-season starts) and a torn Achilles tendon in 1985, costing him big chunks of both seasons. Struggling in Baltimore, Flanagan found new life after getting traded to Toronto during the 1987 stretch run. The Blue Jays were no doubt glad to acquire him, as he owned more wins (17) and innings pitched (208) against them than any other hurler.
After starting 30 games for Toronto in 1989, he was released when he got off to a slow start the following season.
Flanagan ended his career with the Orioles retiring in 1992.
The AP report for Yahoo provides notes on Flanagan’s career and demise:
After his retirement, he worked for the Orioles as a coach and in the front office before settling into a job as color commentator on the team’s broadcast network.
“He was looking forward to broadcasting the Yankees series coming up. He was doing something he loved,” said Jim Duquette, who teamed with Flanagan from 2005-07 to attempt to rebuild the Orioles.
A police investigation revealed the 59-year-old pitcher was upset about financial issues. He left no note.
According to police, Alex Flanagan last spoke to her husband about 1 a.m. Wednesday. She told police he sounded upset, and he promised he would talk to her later.
When Alex Flanagan did not hear from her husband, she called a neighbor to check on him. The neighbor went to the home and called 911 after failing to find him.
Police discovered a body on the property but could not immediately determine the identity because the wounds were so severe.
Flanagan was a crafty left-hander who went 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA over 18 seasons with Baltimore and Toronto.
He was 141-116 with Baltimore and is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame. Flanagan was also the final Oriole to pitch at Memorial Stadium, Baltimore’s home from 1954-1991.
“It’s very tragic. He was a good friend. I just wished I’d known he was having a struggle,” former Orioles player and manager Davey Johnson said. “I’d sure liked to have talked to him. It’s just a terrible loss. Everybody who knew Flanny loved him. He was always a delight to be around.”