Did the Japanese Kill Mike Flanagan?

The sudden passing of Mike Flanagan was a shock to all, but hearing his name made us here at Throwback Attack think of our first impression of him.

Back in the 1980s Topps came out with something called “Baseball Talk” that had larger-than-normal cards with a small record on the back. You’d take the cards, put them in a player and then listen to interviews or information about players, past and present.

As a kid, looking at baseball cards was fun, sure, but to actually hear the voices of your favorite players? Wow, Topps had discovered something.

(Actually, no, because it was much more expensive to purchase cards, the little records would sometimes pop off and you’d have to constantly blow into the machine or on the card, a la blowing on Nintendo games. Think of how Teddy Ruxpin disappeared so quickly – because of the problems it encountered.)

Anyways, there was one card that I would play a lot as a kid and it was that of Mike Flanagan. I wasn’t an Orioles fan and in the late 1980s they weren’t very good, so I didn’t pay much attention to them.

However, there was a bit in his Baseball Talk card in which he talks about going to Japan and talking to the people from Mizuno.

According to Flanagan, the Mizuno reps had spelled his name “Mike Franagan” and told him – as he recounted on the card – “Mr. Franagan, we’re very grad you use our gruve.”

Now, this wasn’t like Al Campanis but even as a kid I knew that Franagan Flanagan was probably wrong in saying that. How come he got a pass? Was it because Baseball Talk wasn’t that successful of a product?

I want to know if he took any heat for his remarks. Even if you Google “Mike Flanagan Baseball Talk” the Wikipedia page is the only relevant result that shows up. (To its credit, the Wikipedia page does mention Flanagan’s remark.)

Maybe, after all these years, the Japanese got revenge on Flanagan and took him out. Perhaps they made it look like a suicide and not even CSI will be able to figure it out.


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