Lefty Mike Flanagan won the American League Cy Young Award in 1979 when he posted 23 wins and tossed five shutouts for the pennant-winning Baltimore Orioles. Flanagan was one of a stable of good pitchers the O’s had in their rotation in the 1970s and early 1980s – he teamed at various times with with Jim Palmer, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone, and Mike Boddicker – three of the quintet winning Cy Youngs.
After his pitching career, which saw him win 167 games, Flanagan served in various capacities for the Orioles, first as a broadcaster, then as a coach, then as VP of Baseball Operations. In his last role, Flanagan took failure very personally (the team lost 90 games in each of his three years in the job). The disappointment of that period in his life may have contributed to Flanagan’s suicide in 2011.
Flanagan was known as one of the funniest men in the game and he was loved by most sportswriters for being “good copy.” Longtime baseball reporter Tim Kurkjian said of him, “He was the wittiest, sharpest, most clever baseball player I’ve ever seen, a guy who – no matter the subject – always provided perspective and context, usually wrapped in a laugh.”
In 1983, despite missing nearly three months with an injury, Flanagan went 12-4 for the Orioles, who won their second pennant with him in their rotation. In the ALCS against the Chicago White Sox, the lefty pitched and won Game Three. The team went on to win the World Series, the only title for the O’s during his tenure with the club.