A tough day has dawned for Orioles fans as they are remembering Mike Flanagan and still dealing with the sadness of his passing yesterday.
Earl Weaver was a guest on 105.7 FM The Fan this morning, remembering the pitcher that won the American Cy Young Award in 1979.
“He came through our system,” Weaver said on the “Norris & Davis” morning show. “Mike was quiet and went about his business as well as any pitcher that I’ve had. Very intelligent person that had a great sense of humor. What happened, I’ll never understand.
“The first time you see him, you could see how hard he threw the ball and he had a very heavy fastball that sank and that was natural. He pitched with his head as well as he did with his arm.”
So many people, including Weaver, fondly remember Flanagan’s one-liners and sense of humor.
“He had the guys laughing a lot. You’d be sitting at the front of the bus and you’d hear Mike come up with one of his quick ones. He kept the team loose,” Weaver said.
“You don’t get real close to your players until after it’s over. I got closer to Mike after he was done and I was done. We probably had a few more conversations then than we did while he was on the team.”
Scott McGregor and Flanagan were teammates for many years, came up together as young pitchers and played together on the 1979 AL champion Orioles and the 1983 World Series championship team.
“I played my whole career with him until the end, when he went up to Toronto. He was amazing. He was a master of the puns and we used to sit there on the bench and try to outdo each other on the bench and make each other laugh,” McGregor told The Fan.
“When I got into coaching 10 years ago, I talked to him and he told me, ‘Mac, just do what we used to do, keep ‘em loose, laugh, be positive and teach them how to play the game.’
“He had pain shooting through his whole left side the year he won the Cy Young Award, that whole second half. But he just went out there and pitched and grinded it out and was a great example.”
McGregor was asked if he saw any changes in Flanny over the last several years.
“Flanny had that outward appearance and he could keep you laughing, but I know he had a hard time after the GM thing. It was kind of hard to get a hold of him for a while. He never really said anything, but I think he took it personal and I think he felt like maybe he didn’t get us back in the winner’s circle. I don’t know, I don’t know all the things that were going on in his life, but he had some rough times,” McGregor said.
I think this news is going to rock the Orioles’ organization for some time. Right now, wins and losses, hitting streaks and pitching stats don’t seem very important.
I just feel lucky that I got to watch Flanny excel as a player and later know him as a person. I thank him for his talent, his humanity, his wit, his kindness, his friendship and his amazing love of the Orioles.
Few players and people were ever more proud to represent the Orioles or did so with more pride. Flanny made us proud to be Orioles fans.