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Mike Flanagan, former Oriole, found dead; suicide suspected

August 25, 2011 |  9:06 am

Mike Flanagan, a former Cy Young Award winner and part of the Baltimore Orioles 1983 World Series championship team, died, possibly from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, at his Maryland home on Wednesday,  according to the Baltimore Sun, which cited unnamed sources. He was 59.

Police received a 911 call at 1:46 p.m. reporting a death, Baltimore County police spokeswoman Elise Armacost told reporters. Officers found a body on a trail leading to a barn.

Police have not confirmed the identity of the body and are waiting to hear from the medical examiner. Sources told the Baltimore Sun that Flanagan shot himself in the face, delaying official identification.

"It's just shock right now," former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey told reporters. "I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can't believe it."

Flanagan, a left-hander, received the Cy Young Award with the Orioles in 1979 after going 23-9 with a 3.08 earned run average and five shutouts.

In his career, he was 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA over 18 seasons with Baltimore and Toronto. After he retired, Flanagan worked as the Orioles vice president for baseball operations and executive vice president. In recent years, including this season, he did color commentary for the team's TV network.

Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos issued the following statement regarding Flanagan's death: "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."

Fellow Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. said in a statement: "I am so sorry to hear about Mike's passing. 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 will be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day."


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Photo: Mike Flanagan. Credit: Joe Giza / Reuters.