Cowan, a vice-president of Yorkshire, made his name during the 1950s and 1960s and was a former new-ball partner of the great Fred Trueman.
Geoff Cope, the Yorkshire president, paid tribute to a man who was rarely without a joke or two and a popular figure on the after-dinner circuit.
“Mike was a very fine servant of Yorkshire County Cricket Club and after he finished playing he became a very entertaining after-dinner speaker,” said Cope.
“He gave a lot of time to cricket societies and to the game in general.
“He was often seen at Doncaster Town Cricket Club and was just an all-round good guy.
“Everyone at Yorkshire extends their deepest condolences to Mike’s family.”
Cowan made his Yorkshire debut as an 18-year-old in 1953, becoming the first Doncaster lad to earn a county cap.
Yorkshire CCC said in a statement: “The Yorkshire County Cricket Club is saddened to learn that former player Mike Cowan has passed away, aged 89.
“Cowan enjoyed a First-Class career at Yorkshire between 1953 and 1962, earning his cap in 1960. The left-arm fast-medium bowler took 276 First-Class wickets and was part of three County Championship winning squads towards the backend of his Yorkshire career.
“Yorkshire and Surrey’s players will pay tribute to Cowan before play on day two of their LV= Insurance County Championship match at Scarborough by observing a minute’s silence. Yorkshire’s players will also wear black armbands in remembrance of one of the Club’s vice-presidents.
“The thoughts of everyone at The Yorkshire County Cricket Club are with Mike’s family and friends at this difficult time.”