The Orioles have confirmed that the body of former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan was found tonight on a trail leading to a barn on his Sparks property. He was 59.
Flanagan returned to the MASN broadcast booth last season, but he'll always be remembered as one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles history. He compiled a 167-143 record and 3.90 ERA in 18 seasons with the Orioles and Blue Jays, and won the Cy Young Award in 1979 after going 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA.
He also was the last Oriole to throw a pitch at Memorial Stadium.
Flanagan was elected to the Orioles' Hall of Fame in 1994 in his first year of eligibility. He ranks third in team history in games pitched (450), innings pitched (2,317 2/3) and starts (328), fourth in strikeouts (1,297) and complete games (98), fifth in victories (141) and seventh in shutouts (17).
Flanagan also worked as the Orioles' pitching coach in 1995 and 1998 and served in the front office as a baseball operations executive from 2005 season until his contract expired at the end of 2008.
Flanagan is survived by his wife, Alex, and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.
"I am so sorry to hear about Mike's passing," said Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. "He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he'll be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day."
His passing has obviously shaken the organization to its core. Confirmation of his death came earlier tonight, but I was asked to wait until the Orioles were certain that his family had been notified before posting on this blog.
Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos released the following statement:
"It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall."
I won't use the cliche about this tragedy placing sports in its proper perspective. We already know it. Anyone who's followed this team is deeply impacted by the news, and that's especially true for those of us who were fortunate enough to know him.
No words can truly convey what we're feeling at this moment. Please keep his family in your prayers.