Most who have listened to Red Sox/Orioles games have heard of Baltimore utility player Ryan Flaherty’s Maine background. But few know the backstory of how the kid from Portland made it to the show.
Flaherty grew up surrounded by baseball. His dad, Ed, is the coach at the University of Southern Maine and a local legend. He won two national championships with the Huskies in 1991 and 1997. In fact, the University just named the field there after the elder Flaherty.
Making an Impact
Flaherty played high school ball for the Deering Rams and was a standout in football as well as baseball. A 2005 graduate, he led Nova Seafood to the American Legion World Series Championship in 2004 and won the Telegram League batting title. Flaherty also won the Maine Gatorade and John Winkin baseball award as a senior along with Legion Tournament MVP. To make his resume more impressive, Flaherty was a finalist for Maine’s prestigious football award, the Fitzpatrick Trophy.
Ryan Flaherty’s Maine childhood transitioned into a college career at the “Harvard of the South”—Vanderbilt University. While with the Commodores, Flaherty played alongside fellow big leaguers David Price and Pedro Alvarez. He received an honorable mention his freshman year and a Second-team All-America selection. During his final season with Vanderbilt, he hit .542 in the NCAA Tournament. His consistent performance at the plate led Coach Corbin to coin him “the model of consistency.”
Big League Success
The Chicago Cubs chose Flaherty in the first round (41st overall) of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. In four seasons of minor league ball, Flaherty batted .279 with an on-base percentage of .347, slugging percentage of .455, and 182 RBI. He also hit 38 home runs and 79 doubles. While in the Cubs organization he was ranked as the 8th best prospect.
Despite this, Flaherty was Rule 5 eligible and was subsequently selected by the Baltimore Orioles. He has continued his consistent performance and has become one of Buck Showalter’s primary utility options.
To this day, he is the only active major league player born in Maine, as Charlie Furbush is currently a free agent. In 2012, he became the first Mainer to hit a postseason home run.