11 August 2014

the mike flanagan memorial patch

mike flanagan, the 1979 american league cy young award winner who won 141 games for the orioles in 15 seasons with them, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in august of 2011.  the team, for which flanagan had also been a broadcaster, coach, and executive, wore a memorial patch in his honor for the remainder of the season.

manager buck showalter wore the patch on his pullover windbreaker as shown on his 2012 topps heritage card
and here it is on the actual uniform jersey of troy patton on a 2012 topps update card
the orioles wore a slightly different version of the patch when their black jerseys were in play.  i don't have a card showing that version, but here's a photo of jj hardy that shows the patch outlined in white.
flanagan was a member of the 1979 pennant winning orioles, as well as the 1983 world champion team, but was traded to the blue jays during the 1987 season.  flanagan returned to the orioles in 1991 and finished his playing career with them in 1992.  he was the last orioles' pitcher in the history of memorial stadium, and also got to pitch in camden yards.  following his retirement, he joined the orioles as a broadcaster and then served two stints as a pitching coach before joining the front office as the executive vice president of baseball operations - a position he held from 2002 to 2008.

i did not realize that it was flanagan who gave don stanhouse the nickname 'stan the man unusual', nor did i know that his nicknaming abilities may have been what inspired chris berman.  i did realize early on in my baseball fandom, however, that flanagan was a good pitcher, winning 19 games in 1978 and then his career-high and league-leading 23 in 1979.  later, i learned that wins weren't the best barometer, but i still knew that flanagan could pitch as i rooted for the blue jays as my american league team in 1987 and flanagan threw 11 innings in game 161, trying to stave off the tigers.

flanagan's suicide has been attributed to despression, which he struggled with for a long time, according to his widow.  he was 59 years old.

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