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By Justin Fenton and Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun / 12:32 p.m. EDT, August 25, 2011.
Former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan, a Cy Young Award winner who became a television announcer and top executive with the club, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Wednesday afternoon, according to sources with knowledge of the investigation into his death.
A Baltimore County police spokeswoman said that police received a 911 call at 4:26 p.m. reporting a death in the 15000 block of York Road in Sparks, at a property owned by Flanagan. Officers found a man's body on a trail leading to a barn, according to spokeswoman Elise Armacost.
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson told The Sun Thursday that investigators informed him that Flanagan's death was an apparent suicide. "I was contacted late afternoon [Wednesday] and informed that it appears we had a suicide involving former Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan," Johnson said.
Sources said Flanagan, 59, appeared to have shot himself in the face, making identification difficult and causing official confirmation of his death to be delayed. Police said in a news release that they are waiting for a ruling from the medical examiner on the circumstances surrounding the death.
Word of Flanagan's death spread quickly in baseball circles, with former teammates and current Orioles players offering tributes.
"It's just shock right now," said former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey. "I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff."
Flanagan, who was in his second year as a color analyst for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, spent more than 30 years with the Orioles as a player, coach, front office executive and broadcaster.