Tuesday, February 24, 2015

#381 Mike Flanagan

About the Front: Back-to-back excellent cards. Here we have a unique behind-the-plate view of Mike Flanagan, having just completed his delivery, watching the flight of his pitch as it comes toward us. Yankee Stadium is the backdrop; assuming this photo was taken in 1992, it would've been during the April 24-26 weekend series between the O's and Yanks. Flanny appeared in all three games, striking out four batters and walking two in three hitless innings of relief.

About the Back: Here you see Mike's entire 18-year major league record. He returned to the Orioles in 1991 in a bullpen role and flourished, but couldn't replicate that success the following year. At age 40, he called it a career. Still, his high ERA in 1992 is a bit misleading; he gave up 21 of his 31 earned runs in four ugly outings (and 2.1 innings) spread throughout the season. In his other 38 games, he allowed 10 earned runs in 32.1 innings.

Triple Play:

1. Among his accolades were an All-Star selection in 1978, the 1979 American League Cy Young Award, and a World Series ring with the Orioles in 1983. He was also the last O's pitcher to take the mound in the team's final game in Memorial Stadium on October 6, 1991.

2. Mike was also known for his wit. During the 1980 season, he referred to himself as "Cy Young" and teammate Jim Palmer as "Cy Old". He also gave former closer Don Stanhouse the colorful nicknames of "Fullpack" and "Stan the Man Unusual".

3. After retiring, Flanagan wore several hats in the Orioles' organization. He served two stints as pitching coach, and was a TV analyst for the team's local broadcasts for a number of years. From 2003-2007, he served as one of the club's top front office executives, in effect a co-GM with first Jim Beattie and later Jim Duquette. Sadly, Mike took his own life with a gunshot to the head on August 24, 2011. His widow Alex later revealed that he had battled depression for years.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Mike's 1986 Topps card was the only Oriole card I owned from that set as a child.

Bill James Said: Flanagan was not active in 1993, and not featured in James' book.

On This Date in 1993: February 24. At the 35th Grammy Awards, Eric Clapton wins three awards for his song "Tears in Heaven".

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