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Lucky to Know Mike Flanagan

Mike Flanagan was getting pounded all over the ballpark in Osaka, Japan, when Orioles manager Joe Altobelli went to the mound to end the misery that day in 1984.

“Not your day, Flanny,” Altobelli said as Flanagan handed him the ball.

Flanagan paused before leaving the mound.

“You know,” he said, “I heard this might happen.”

“What’s that?” Altobelli asked.

“My slider breaks the opposite way on this side of the world,” he said without cracking a smile.

Altobelli did not laugh because, well, the line was vintage Flanagan. It was both bizarre, and in a very strange way, possibly true. Later, Flanagan would laugh until tears ran down his face that his manager had bought the whole...

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