Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.
SportsOrioles

Records: Flanagan had threatened suicide before

FirearmsDefenseMike FlanaganBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ExplosivesDick's Sporting Goods IncorporatedTelevision Networks

Former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan had threatened to commit suicide several times before taking his life last month, police records show.

In an interview with police detectives, Flanagan's wife described several occasions in which he grabbed a shotgun and walked outside their Sparks home, declaring, "I can't take it anymore." Each time, Alex Flanagan said, she talked her 59-year-old husband back inside.

The account adds to an emerging picture of Flanagan as a troubled man who was struggling with his career and finances and had grappled with suicidal thoughts. The interview with his wife and other details were included in records released Friday by Baltimore County police in response to a Public Information Act request.

Last month, Flanagan's body was found near a barn on his property. He had suffered a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the head. His wife was out of town at the time.

The death of Flanagan, affectionately known as "Flanny," led to an outpouring of grief among Orioles fans, players and colleagues. Friends said Flanagan, a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, had been depressed after losing his front office job as the Orioles' executive vice president in 2008. But many said they were still puzzled by his suicide, noting that he seemed rejuvenated by his latest job as an announcer, calling games for the team's television network.

According to the newly released police records, Alex Flanagan told detectives they both were "distraught" over his job and that he had been working without a contract for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network for the past year and a half. Flanagan had told his wife he felt "insignificant" and threatened to shoot himself in June, prompting a visit by police, according to the records.

Orioles officials disputed the characterization of Flanagan's employment. "That is absolutely false," said Greg Bader, director of communications for the Orioles. "Mike had a contract with MASN and was being paid."

Alex Flanagan could not be reached for comment.

There was no suicide note. Police said after Flanagan's death that he had been upset about "financial issues," though the report prepared by detectives makes no explicit mention of those issues beyond describing a general frustration with "his employment and other financial issues."

A widely circulated news report the night of his death also claimed Flanagan was upset about fans blaming him for the current struggles of the Orioles, which police have denied.

Police said that they were called to the Flanagan home on June 30 after Alex Flanagan expressed concern that she could not reach him. The report released Friday indicates he had talked about harming himself that day, prompting the call. When officers arrived, Flanagan told them he was having phone problems and that was why his wife couldn't reach him, according to police.

Alex Flanagan said she couldn't reach her husband again on Aug. 24. She was in New Jersey, where police records indicate her mother, who had been sick, lives. Alex Flanagan said she last talked to her husband in a phone conversation at 1 a.m. Unable to reach him later in the day, she contacted a friend and asked her to check on him.

The friend was able to enter the home, which was unlocked. Flanagan's Mercedes-Benz was in the driveway, and his wallet and watch were inside the house. But she couldn't find him. She called police and seemed braced for the worst, according to a 911 call released by police last month.

"I can't do this by myself, OK?" she told a dispatcher. "I cannot emotionally do this, if you understand."

Flanagan's body was found by officers near a pile of logs, about 150 feet from the home. He was wearing a blue shirt, a pair of blue jeans, and a pair of shoes. A Mossberg 500A 12-gauge shotgun lay on the ground, near a spent shell casing and his glasses. In his right front pocket was an unfired shotgun shell.

Police asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to trace the weapon, which authorities determined had been purchased at a Dick's Sporting Goods store in Cockeysville in 1999. It was one of four firearms recovered from the home.

It was the friend who called Alex Flanagan in New Jersey and informed her of the discovery.

A memorial service was held for Flanagan in New Hampshire, where he was born. Orioles officials say they were not invited to the event. The team has been playing out this year's schedule with black-and-white "Flanny" uniform patches.

Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Zrebiec and David Zurawik contributed to this article.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com


Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
FirearmsDefenseMike FlanaganBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and ExplosivesDick's Sporting Goods IncorporatedTelevision Networks
Comments
Loading