On the surface, Doug Flynn’s life and baseball career appear pedestrian, but it is far from that.
Flynn made his major league debut in 1975 as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Over his first two major league seasons he mostly watched as, arguably one of the greatest teams in baseball history, won two World Series. The Big Red Machine as they are now often referred was loaded with talent: Johnny Bench, George Foster, Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and Ken Griffey.
“You think it doesn’t bother you, but then you hear people shouting: ‘We want Seaver,’” said Flynn. “We four guys in the trade used to say that it would be silly to try to live up to the Seaver pressure. We just didn’t want to go down in history as a trivia question: ‘Who were the four guys traded in 1977 for Tom Seaver?’”
More than 40 years later, Flynn called the trade the “best thing that ever happened to me as a baseball player.” For Flynn, the trade gave him a chance to become an everyday player. The opportunity also allowed him to show off his defensive skills, winning a Gold Glove in 1980 as a member of the Mets.
But playing baseball in New York, in the shadow of “The Franchise,” was nothing compared to what Doug Flynn was living with trying to manage off the field. In January 1977, just months before the trade to New York, Flynn’s sister, Melanie, went missing and was later suspected murdered. Flynn later confessed that dealing with life in New York combined with his sister’s disappearance “weighed” heavily on him.
To this day, Melanie Flynn is still considered missing. No body has been found. Suspects have died. Potential witnesses have not provided anything new. But the Flynn family remains hopeful that an answer will one day come. In 1989, the book, The Bluegrass Conspiracy, shed some light on the events surrounding Melanie Flynn’s death, but still, the case remains open. You can read more about the facts of the case below.