When the season began, it seemed that he would be the everyday second baseman. It hasn't quite turned out that way and he has become the ultimate utility man on the Orioles. A guy who as played every position on the field but catcher, pitcher and center field in his career. Adversity is something that has always been a part of his professional career.
Name: Ryan Edward Flaherty Number: 3
Born: July 27, 1986 (27 years old) in Portland, ME
Height: 6'3" Weight: 210 lbs
Bats: Left Throw: Right
Drafted: 1st round, 41st overall, by the Chicago Cubs in 2008
School: Deering High School (Portland, ME)
Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
Contract: $512,000 in 2014 (Arbitration: 2015, Free Agent: 2018)
Became an Oriole: Selected by the Orioles in the 2011 Rule 5 Draft
Walk-up Song: "Bottoms Up" by Brantley Gilbert
In the research of Flash, it becomes obvious that baseball is in his blood. He is the son of Edward and Deborah Flaherty. Edward was a star at the University of Maine and is now the head coach at the University of Southern Maine, a division III school in Portland. He has been there for 28 years. As a kid, Ryan would accompany his father to Southern Maine practices, and field grounders.
Ryan is the middle child of three. His sister, Regina, is older and would play baseball in pickup games with the boys growing up. The youngest, Regan, a former draft pick of the Seattle Mariners, is a senior at Western Kentucky University and a member of the Hilltoppers baseball squad. Originally, he had attended Vanderbilt like his brother but transferred to a junior college due to lack of playing time. From there he made his way to WKU.
Through all of that baseball talent emerged the man Oriole fans so "lovingly" refer to as "The Flahrt".
As much grief as he may get now, he was a straight stud on the diamond in high school. Heading into college he was ranked as the 141st prospect in the country by Baseball America and named Mr. Baseball in the state of Maine. Add to that the fact that he lettered in football and basketball in addition to baseball. He was actually a finalist for the Fitzpatrick Trophy his senior year. That is an award that goes to the best football player in the state. Oh yeah, he played hockey too, until he just couldn't fit it into his schedule.
When it came time to choose a university, Ryan had always thought he would attend Southern Maine and play under his father. But the elder Flaherty felt that Ryan would be hurting himself by doing so. They preferred for him to stretch his baseball wings.
"As much as him and my mom loved having me around," Ryan told MLB.com, "I think they knew that was best for my career."
While at Vandy, he studied human and organizational development but does not have a degree as he left school after just three years. On the field, he continued his dominance, earning awards such as an honorable mention Freshman All-American in 2006 and a second-team All-American in 2007. It all culminated with being drafted by the Cubs in 2008.
He became a top prospect immediately, ranking 8th in the Cubs organization. He managed to hold his own in short season and low-A ball but then hit the skids in double-A Tennessee. He would bounce back in 2011, hitting well at double-A but again struggling once he made it to Triple-A. The Cubs lost enough faith to leave him off the forty man, open to the rule five draft.
As fate would have it, the Orioles would select him and keep him on for the entire 2012 season. As soon as they chose him, Flaherty became the number seven prospect on the farm. That speaks to both the futility of the Baltimore system as well as Ryan's talent level. But you all know the history of Flaherty on the field with the O's.
Off the field, you may be interested to know that he once rented a condo in Baltimore from none other than Brady Anderson. However, he also had an apartment in his collegiate town of Nashville. There, he lived with Pedro Alvarez. The two played together with the Commodores.
After that, the internet is pretty bare of Flaherty news. He likes to get outside and go fishing. He was a Red Sox fan growing up (ew!) and he roots for the New England Patriots. Coffee or tea? Coffee, he's from New England, the land of Dunkin Donuts. Anything I'm missing? Let me know in the comments.
- Food: lobster (he is from Maine)
- Movie: The Lone Survivor (it was Boondock Saints until recently)
- Career if not a baseball player: coach (like father like son)
- Prized possession: his Xbox (he is a simple man)
- Video Game: Madden or Call of Duty
- Musician: Eminem
- Actor: Denzel Washington
- Favorite player growing up: Derek Jeter