Former Baltimore Orioles great Mike Flanagan was found dead at the age of 59, stunning the organization and its fans.
A body was seen in a suspicious condition on his property near a barn, leading a neighbor to call police.
It’s a stunning development, as Flanagan appeared to be in good health and remained very active with the organization by providing color commentary for games on MASN. He did not make the trip to Minnesota to do the team’s series against the Twins, as Jim Palmer took over his color commentary duties.
When the news first broke about a deceased body located on his property, the sick feeling in the stomach kicked in immediately. You hoped for the best, but feared and essentially knew the worst had occurred.
Tweets and reports began to leak out that it was confirmed that Flanagan had passed away, which was later followed up by an official statement by the Orioles on his property. News of his death was not announced during the Orioles-Twins game, but it was later found out that Jim Palmer and Jim Hunter were aware of the tragedy during the broadcast.
The entire postgame show, which was delayed by a very long commercial break, was spent announcing the death of Flanagan and discussing him as both a player and person. Amber Theoharis struggled to inform viewers of his death, while former teammates Rick Dempsey and Jim Palmer were barely able to speak as tears filled their eyes. Later, a devastated Jim Hunter held a very brief interview with manager Buck Showalter, who was also noticeable shaken. All in all, it was some of the most heartwrenching television I’ve ever seen.
Sadly, the death occurred on the 51st birthday of Cal Ripken, who also released a statement indicating his sorrow and best wishes for Flanagan’s family. He leaves behind a wife and three daughters.
To make matters worse, Gerry Sandusky was told by multiple sources that Flanagan committed suicide. Police declined to announce a cause of death and actually would not even confirm the identity of the man found on the property despite all of the news outlets detailing Flanagan’s death.
Flanagan was a tremendous pitcher for the Orioles for many years, even winning the Cy Young award during his time in Baltimore. He is one of the links to the good days of Baltimore baseball and the old Oriole Way. He is also remembered fondly for recording the final out at Memorial Stadium.
He went on to become the general manager of the Orioles for a few seasons, sharing the role with Jim Beattie and later Jim Duquette. While the team did not perform well during those years and he was eventually relieved of his duties, he was always beloved by Orioles fans and remained a big supporter of the organization.
It seems like even when the O’s organization makes the smallest of strides forward, there is always something waiting around the corner to kick it in the gut. RIP Flanny. You will be greatly missed.
I’m sure I’ll have more on this tragedy in the coming days are more information becomes available. Follow me on Twitter @bmoresportsexam.