Doug Flynn: Former Mets Gold Glove Second Baseman (1977 - 1981)

Robert Douglas Flynn was born on April 18, 1951, in Lexington, Kentucky. Doug’s dad had played in the Brooklyn Dodger organization in the late 1940s but never made the big leagues. His mother Ella played fast pitch softball in the 1940's as well. Doug had one sister Melanie & a brother Brad.

Doug was a standout player at the University of Kentucky He was signed after attending a baseball tryout camp for the Cincinnati Reds, as a free agent in 1971. He spent three years in the minor leagues moving up a level each season. He never hit above .258 there but was known for being a fine defensive infielder.

MLB Debut: He debuted with the Reds in 1975 as an all-around infield utility man for the Big Red Machine in their hey days. It was clear with Joe Morgan at second, Dave Concepcion at short & Pete Rose moving from left field to third base on the infield; there wasn’t much room for the weak hitting Flynn as an everyday player. He had to adjust to be a late inning defensive replacement or spot starter.

Quotes- Doug Flynn: "We knew what our role was, took pride in it & always tried to be ready when called in".

He would only hit seven HRs in his career, and two of them came in those years. He would drive in twenty runs each season, getting into over 80 games each season. He hit .268 in 1975 & then batted .283 in 1976. 

Post Season: He only made one defensive appearance in the post season; it came in Game #1 of the 1976 NLCS against the Phillies. The Reds won consecutive Worlds Championships in 1975 & 1976.

Flynn’s scouting report reads: an excellent defensive player, with a light bat and good speed. He came over to the New York Mets with Steve Henderson, Pat Zachary & Dan Norman, on “The Midnight Massacre” in the famous Tom Seaver deal in 1977. 

The Tom Seaver Trade: "I remember the day before the trade, there was an article in the Cincinnati paper that listed all the Reds who were untouchables, and I was one of them. That night we were playing the Phillies, Pete Rose came over and sat next to me and patted me on the leg." Instantly Flynn knew.

"I said to Pete, I'm going, aren't I? Flynn said. "I asked where and for whom and he said to New York for Tom Seaver. I asked if it 'was straight up' and he said 'hardly.' 

Earlier that year on May 20th he doubled off Tom Seaver & his future Mets teammates driving in two runs in a game at Shea Stadium.

His friend Johnny Bench told Flynn this was his chance to play every day & take advantage of the opportunity.

Mets Career: Flynn debuted with the Mets on June 17th getting a hit, a double in a game against the Houston Astros at Shea Stadium. Flynn was always seen with his cheek full of tobacco like an old-time ball player.

He played hard in New York for the fans & his rookie manager Joe Torre. Flynn became one of Torre's favorite players & Flynn enjoyed his time with Torre. Veterans Bud Harrelson & Felix Millan helped Flynn adjust to his new team.

Flynn would get to play short stop when veteran Bud Harrelson got hurt, going thirty-one games without committing an error that season.

Not known for his hitting, Flynn hit only .191 that summer for the Mets. Going into August he had a six-game hit streak, with two multi-hit games. On August 9th he had a three-hit game against the Cardinals at Shea Stadium & then another three hit game a week later in St. Louis.

On August 12th in a game at Pittsburgh, Flynn fielded a ground ball & tossed it to Felix Millan at second to start a double play. Pirate Ed Ott slid into Millan, who in turn punched Ott with the ball in his hand. The much bigger Ott slammed Millan to the ground, injuring him ending his season. Flynn now filled in the role at second base.

The rest of the year he slumped & also made twelve errors on the field due to the fact he was having personal troubles. 

Quotes- Doug Flynn: "I was thrust into a situation in New York. I was coming off back-to-back World Series teams, but I was still a country boy from Kentucky living in the big city. The trade also happened at a time when my sister was kidnapped and murdered. That leaked out and I tried not to make a big deal of it. Obviously, it was on my mind."

As the media kept probing Flynn about his sister, he would get irritated sometimes responding harshly to them. Being of strong Christian Faith, he believed it's what got him through those times.

1978 Season: The Mets acquired veteran Tim Foli for short stop in the off season, Foli had begun his career with the Mets in the early seventies. A fine defensive player in his own right, he & Flynn made one of the best double play combos in the league. The two finished second to the Padres Ozzie Smith & Fernando Gonzales in double plays.

On Opening Day, he drove in the second run of the Mets season, with a single off Montreal's Steve Rogers in the Mets 3-1 win over the Expos. On April 17th he had three hits while driving in two runs in a 6-2 Mets win over the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium.

From May 9th through May 17th Flynn hit in key situations driving in a run in five of seven games. He closed out the month with two more games where he had multi-RBIs, both games in which the Mets won. 

In July he had two seven game hit streaks, & also drove in runs in three straight games late in the month. In September he hit four triples half his total for the season & drove in eight runs, almost a quarter of his RBI total for the year.

In 1978 Flynn saw action in 128 games at second base. He posted a .986 fielding % (2nd in the league) playing a good enough defense to finish runner up to the Dodgers Davey Lopes for the Gold Glove award. 

At the plate he hit .237 with 8 triples (10th most in the league). He hit no HRs with 12 doubles & six sacrifice hits. He struck out 50 times with 30 walks posting a .277 on base %.

1979 Season: The Mets began the year with a big 10-6 Opening Day win at Wrigley Field. In the second game he had two hits while driving in two runs in the Mets 9-4 win. That month he drove in seven runs but only hit .164.

On May 1st Flynn hit a three run HR at Shea off Padres pitcher & future Hall of Famer Doug Flynn. On June 3rd in a game against the Braves in Atlanta Flynn hit two triples gathering up three hits. 

Inside the Park HR: On June 12th with the Mets trailing the Reds 5-2, they had a rare 1979 power explosion. They set a franchise record, scoring ten runs in the inning, the highlight being a three run inside the park HR by Flynn. It was just the third inside the parker in Shea Stadium’s history at that point. It was quite a thrill for Flynn against his old team mates as well. 

On June 16th he hit a HR off Atlanta’s Mickey Mahler & later scored the only other run of the game, on Joel Youngblood’s base hit.

In July, Flynn had a big month for a light hitter, driving in ten runs while enjoying a seven game hit streak as well. In a July 8th game against the Padres at Shea Stadium, Flynn cleared the bases with a bases loaded double off Padre pitcher Bob Shirley. Flynn's three RBIs lead the team to a 4-1 win.

In August he had his biggest month driving in 18 runs, with a dozen multi-hit games, nine doubles & seven runs scored. On September 6th he broke a 1-1 tie in the 7th inning of a game against the Phillies hitting a two run HR off former Mets teammate Nino Espinoza. He closed out the season by driving in three runs in a double header against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1979 he led the league’s second baseman in put outs (325) was second in assists (380) third in fielding (.983 %) & was once again the runner-up for the Gold Glove Award. 

He also enjoyed career highs in at-bats (555) hits (135) doubles (19) HRs (4) and RBIs (61). His 61 RBIs were third best on the weak hitting team.

1980 Gold Glove Season: The highlight of his career & greatest Mets achievement came in 1980, when he won the Gold Glove Award. He was just the third Met in history to ever win the Award. He led all National League second basemen with a .991 fielding percentage, committing only six errors in 659 chances.

On Opening Day, he collected a hit in the Mets 5-2 win over the Cubs & drove in a run the next day. On May 23rd Flynn's 7th inning RBI single off the Braves Rick Matula was the difference in the 2-1 Mets win at Shea. The next day Flynn had another RBI in another one run Mets win, highlighted by Elliott Maddox's walk off single.

On June 10th Flynn broke a 4-4 tie with a single off the Dodgers Bob Welch, as the run turned out to be the game winner. 

Player of the Week Award: As August began Flynn collected 18 hits with seven multi game hits in the first eleven games of the month. He scored seven runs with five RBIs & had a game where he hit three triples. Flynn won the NL Player of the Week Award on August 10th. He also played a spectacular defense on that week's long road trip as well.

Three Triples in a Game: On August 5th, in a game against the Montreal Expos, Doug set a Mets record, hitting three triples in one game. He would lead off the 3rd & 5th innings hitting triples off Bill Gullickson & then lead off the 8th with a triple off Elias Sosa. He would score all three times on base hits by Frank Tavares. The Mets lost the game 11-5.

Flynn would lead the club in triples that season with eight & in intentional walks (14).

Injury: That month he had eight multi-hit games & raised his average ten points before getting injured on August 19th. 

In a 5-4 loss to the Giants at Shea Stadium, Flynn laid down a bunt & while trying to reach first base was knocked over my first baseman Mike Ivie who dove to tag him. He fell landed on his wrist & missed the next month of action.

By no means were the Mets contenders but at the time of the injury they were ten games under .500. With Flynn as well as John Stearn out on the DL, they fell to 22 games under .500 by the time Flynn got back on September 19th. They would finish 67-95 in fifth place.

Flynn finished his Gold Glove year with a decent .255 average, hitting nine doubles with the eight triples 24 RBIs & 46 runs scored playing in 128 games. He posted a .288 on base %.

Strike Shortened 1981 Season: Before the season began the Mets gave Flynn a new five-year contract, as the new ownership & GM Frank Cashen were set to improve the team. On Opening Day Flynn recorded two doubles in the Mets 2-0 win at Wrigley Field. In the second game of the year, he drove in the only run in the Mets loss. 

On May 7th he hit his only HR of the season, a solo shot coming off the Giants Doyle Alexander in the Mets 3-2 win. It was Doug's first HR in two years & the last of his MLB career. Flynn also had two multi-RBI games that week as well as ten hits in the first nine games of the month. 

By June the strike stopped play for two months. Play resumed in August, as the Mets played a bit better in the second half.

In the 1981 season, Flynn's average fell off to .222. He hit one HR, with 12 doubles 4 triples & 12 RBIs playing in 105 games. He played in 100 games at second (third most in the league) had 220 put outs (3rd in the NL) 301 assists (4th in the NL) with a .987 fielding %.

By 1981 the Mets Frank Cashen had taken over as general manager and began cleaning house. Manager Joe Torre and his staff were among the first to go at the end of the season. Next up in December, Flynn & Danny Boitano were traded to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Jim Kern. Kern never pitched for the Mets getting traded two months later in the George Foster deal.

Quotes- Doug Flynn: "We weren't very good and that's a fact, I think we could have been better had Torre been allowed to do the things he would have liked to have done. I think his hands were tied. But we were really young and a bunch of us were just trying to find ourselves. On other teams we would have been able to contribute but we just couldn't carry a team.”

Flynn says he was feeling secure after winning a gold glove & signing a new contract before the season. The trade shocked him & humbled him as well. In Texas he found a friend in Frank Tanana who is a born-again Christian who helped him cope with the adjustments. The two players & their wives became lifelong friends.

Post Mets Career: Flynn hit only .211 in Texas playing at second base & short stop. He went to Montreal midway through the 1982, spending three years in there. He finished his career with the Detroit Tigers in 1985. 

Career Stats: In his 11-season career he played in 1,308 games, batting .238 with 918 hits, 115 doubles, 39 triples, 7 HRs, 284 RBI, 20 stolen bases, & 151 walks.  Defensively he played 961 games at second base posting a .986 fielding % (21st all time).

He made 61 errors in 4396 chances turning 532 double plays. At short he posted a .966 % in 309 games played at the position.

Family: Doug met his wife, Olga while on a blind date set up by Pete Rose in New York while Doug was playing for the Mets. Olga was a former cheerleader for the Philadelphia Eagles football team. The two were married in 1982 & have celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary.

 The Flynn's are devout Christians & very involved with their Religion. 

Doug has made speeches at colleges campuses across the country.

Retirement: Flynn was a manager in the Mets minor leagues in 1996 and 1997. In 1998 Flynn became a banking officer in his hometown of Lexington, Kentucky.

Honors: Flynn was on hand for the final closing ceremonies at Shea Stadium in 2008. He has participated in many Mets Fantasy Camps thru the years as a Mets alumnus.
Cancer Survivor: In 2010 he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He had his thyroid removed which caused some damage to his voice box.

Quotes- Doug Flynn: "It's treatable and it's just going to take a little time, about a year or so, and I'm going on with my normal life, and there's a whole lot of worse things, and I'm very blessed they caught it when they did."


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