Thursday, August 25, 2011

R.I.P.—Mike Flanagan

He was born in Manchester, N.H. and starred on the UMASS baseball team. He became a signature player for the Baltimore Orioles—helping them win the World Series in 1983. He didn't have a devastating fastball, but was the consummate "crafty left-hander" who got batters out with guile. He parlayed that talent into a more than respectable 167-143 record and a 3.90 ERA over 18 seasons—15 of them with the O's.

As an executive with the team, he struggled to return the Birds to the glory years of Brooks, Frank, Boog and Jim. While they did have some contending years (and may have gone further if not for Yankee Twerp Jeffrey Maier), they are today a faint whisper of the teams that made people proud to be an Orioles fan.

Mike Flanagan was found dead yesterday at his home. He was only 59 years old. The saddest part of this story is the contention by some that his death was a suicide—brought on by a perception that he was responsible for the team's lack of success.

This is a lesson for all of us that baseball is just a game—the greatest of all games—but a game nonetheless. We all mourn Mike Flanagan's passing.