The images of Mike Flanagan during his long Orioles career come rushing back in a slideshow format of memories: the mane of hair tucked under the cartoon bird cap, the lefty staring out through eye slits at an opposing batter, World Series in 1979 and 1983, tenures as a coach and teacher, standing at a podium or prowling the back fields at Fort Lauderdale Stadium as a club executive, his engaging way in the MASN broadcast booth.
Flanagan’s tragic passing at 59 on Wednesday brings back a flood of memories and emotions. It’s hard to lose a coworker, a friend. But because of his stellar career in an O’s uniform, we’ll always have plenty of cherished memories of the left-hander.
Join “O’s Xtra” at 12:30 p.m. this afternoon, before the Orioles wrap up their four-game series in Minnesota against the Twins, for a special retrospective of Flanagan’s career and his long association with the the orange and black. Former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor will be a special in-studio guest, and newly enshrined Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven will check in to reminisce about his contemporary. Other special guests are in the process of being confirmed for “O’s Xtra” and tonight’s edition of “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” at 4:30 p.m. on MASN.
Tonight and Friday, MASN will rebroadcast one of the most enduring moments of Flanagan’s Orioles career - the last game at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Flanagan, who had returned to the O’s as a reliever following a brief stint as a Toronto Blue Jay, threw the final pitch by an Oriole against the Detroit Tigers at the old ballpark on 33rd Street in Waverly. Check out this special “Orioles Classic” beginning at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights.
Tributes are pouring in for Flanagan, and one of the most poignant comes from Houston Chronicle columnist Richard Justice, who previously covered the O’s for The Washington Post. Baltimore Sun columnist Peter Schmuck tries to put Flanagan’s death into perspective in this morning’s column, while over at PressBox, longtime Baltimore sports voice Stan “The Fan” Charles encourages fans to remember how Flanagan lived. Several national baseball writers with Charm City roots - ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and ESPN’s Buster Olney - also share their heartfelt recollections of Flanagan.
Flanagan was remembered by his hometown newspaper in Manchester, N.H., in this story.