Wednesday was a sad day in Birdland as Mike Flanagan, who wore many hats in the Orioles organization for four decades, was found dead at his Baltimore County home. The 1979 Cy Young Award winner was 59.
During Wednesday night’s Orioles game, I was moved by the response on Twitter from Flanny fans, many of whom reacted as if they had lost an uncle or a close family friend. Others shared their memories on our Orioles Insider blog. And many prominent national baseball writers -- including former Baltimore Sun scribes Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal and Tim Kurkjian -- have since shared their stories about his sharp wit and warm heart.
In his 15 years with the Orioles, the New Hampshire native threw 98 complete games as he went 141-116 with a 3.89 ERA. He won a Cy Young, was an All-Star and helped the Orioles win the 1983 World Series.
He will go down as one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles history, and that’s saying something. Baltimore has been treated to some fine pitchers over the years, and Flanagan is in select company with the likes of Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Dave McNally, Scott McGregor and Mike Mussina. Palmer is the only pitcher to have his number retired by the team, but they all played key parts in Orioles lore.
Flanagan had a few roles with the team over the years, including broadcaster and high-level executive, but he was a pitcher first, and a heck of a good one. I want you to tell me just how good he was.
Your turn: Where does Flanagan rank among O's pitching greats?