As a ballplayer, Mike Flanagan was more of a fuzzy memory to me than a lot of guys of his era and stature. I should have more vivid memories of him pitching for the early 80s Orioles, back when I used to watch Tigers games all the time, but I don’t. I remember Jim Palmer more because he was a bigger name. I even remember Scott McGregor more for some reason. Flanagan was more a name and a baseball card to me.
And that makes me sad today, as I’m reading all of the remembrances of him as both a pitcher and a character. Buster Oleny and Tim Kurkjian each have good ones. Each worth your time for the anecdotes and the obvious affection they had for him. Kurkjian’s is funny and touching, ending with “No one made me laugh like Mike Flanagan. Tonight, he made me cry.”
Reports are that Flanagan committed suicide. How awful it would be if we found out that all of that wry humor about which many of us are first learning was really there to mask pain.