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The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 29 - Mike Flanagan

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29. Mike Flanagan, LHP (1975-1987, 1991-1992)

1979 AL Cy Young
All-Star: 1978

Mike Flanagan was by no stretch of the imagination a great pitcher. He was up and down the majority of his career and had just one full season where he was truly better than average. Nevertheless, he threw a lot of innings for the Orioles, and if you can say one thing about Mike Flanagan, it's that he's a Baltimore Oriole to the bone.

Flanagan was drafted in the seventh round in 1973, and made his major league debut on September 5, 1975. In '76, he pitched 20 games (10 of them starts), and went 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA. He became a member of the rotation in 1977, going 15-10 with a 3.64 ERA (104 ERA+), then slid back to a 4.03 ERA (87 ERA+) and a 19-15 record the next season, when he made his only All-Star appearance.

By far, though, Flanagan's best year was 1979, the year he won the AL Cy Young award and helped lead the O's to the American League pennant. Flanagan won 23 games that year with five shutouts, both leading the league. He finished third in WHIP (1.19) and fourth in ERA (3.08).

Again, Flanagan took a step back the next season, going 16-13 with a 4.12 ERA, and had a rocky '81 as well, at 9-6/4.19.

1982 was another mildly above average year for Flanagan, similar to his '77 season, and then in 1983, on the Orioles championship team, Flanagan suffered a bad knee injury that limited him to just 20 starts, though he was very effective when he did pitch, going 12-4 with a 3.30 ERA. He did pitch in the postseason, winning a game against the White Sox in the ALCS and starting game four of the Series against Philadelphia, though he was pulled after four innings.

Flanagan was healthy and good in 1984, starting 34 games with a 13-13 record, but in '85 a torn Achilles tendon cost him the majority of the year. Flanagan pitched one more season for the Birds, then was traded to Toronto in 1987 in exchange for Oswaldo Peraza and Jose Mesa. Flanagan was a solid addition for the Blue Jays down the stretch, starting seven games with a 2.37 ERA. He had two more years in Toronto as a starter, and in 1990 injuries caught up to him again, limiting him to just five starts.

Flanny returned to Baltimore as a full-time reliever in 1991, and he did a fantastic job, pitching 64 times with a 2.38 ERA. He saved three games. That was it, though, as Flanagan hit the age 40 wall in 1992, posting an 8.05 ERA in 42 appearances. He retired after that season.

Flanagan is also notable for two things he did late in his career: He pitched an inning in the Bob Milacki/Flanagan/Mark Williamson/Gregg Olson no-hitter on July 13, 1991, and he threw the final pitch by an Oriole at Memorial Stadium.

On December 4, 2002, Flanagan and Jim Beattie, another former pitcher, were hired by Peter Angelos to replace general manager Syd Thrift. Flanagan remains one of the team's figureheads.

FRANCHISE RANKINGS
5th, Wins (141)
3rd, Games (450)
3rd, Innings Pitched (2317 2/3)
4th, Strikeouts (1297)
3rd, Games Started (328)
4th, Complete Games (98)
7th, Shutouts (17)