Nationals manager Davey Johnson was on all three Orioles teams that went to the World Series from 1969 to 1971, and he is considered one of the great players in franchise history.
So is pitcher Mike Flanagan, who arrived in Baltimore after Johnson left but is nonetheless grouped with him in a 17-year stretch of Orioles baseball that included six American League pennants and three championships.
But the two players rarely crossed paths in Baltimore, save for a two-year stretch when Johnson took the Orioles to the playoffs in 1996 and 1997. Flanagan was calling Orioles games on TV back then, and Johnson had him work with his pitchers. In those two years, the two became good friends.
When Johnson got the news on Wednesday night that Flanagan died at the age of 59, he was shocked and saddened. Flanagan's death was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner.
"I was pretty shaken. I wish that I had a chance to talk to him ahead of time," Johnson said before the Nationals' 8-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Thursday. "I've lost a lot of people very close to me, and I wish I had chance to talk to him, cheer him up like he's done for me in the past."
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