Loss of 'good friend' Flanagan stuns Melvin

Loss of 'good friend' Flanagan stuns Melvin

Loss of 'good friend' Flanagan stuns Melvin
NEW YORK -- Following Wednesday's 6-4 win -- his club's second in as many games at Yankee Stadium -- A's manager Bob Melvin found a joyful night turn somber upon learning of the death of friend and former Orioles teammate Mike Flanagan, who was just 59.

The A's skipper, nearly too shocked for words, returned to the ballpark on Thursday morning with fond recollections of Flanagan, a left-handed starter who spent 15 of his 18 Major League seasons in Baltimore.

"It hit me hard," Melvin said. "He was a good friend of mine. My thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family. Watching some of the news stuff today, guys like Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken, guys like that were very close to him. You can see how this guy affected a lot of people. He was a leader on teams and taught me an awful lot."

The batterymates shared a special moment in 1991, when Flanagan threw the last pitch in the history of Memorial Stadium to Melvin.

Mike Flanagan.

"That was a big day for him," Melvin said. "He was honored to be able to pitch the last inning, and I was able to catch him, and I remember him striking out Travis Fryman on a 3-2 breaking ball and him walking off the mound. There was a picture caught at some point, and he had that framed for me years later. It's one that I feature at home. It means a lot to me."

Melvin and Flanagan were teammates for only one season, but their friendship spanned even longer.

"You have a lot of acquaintances in the game," Melvin said. "I consider him a friend."