Former Yankees Executive Gene Michael Dies at 79

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 22:  Former New York Yankee Gene Michael is introduced during the teams Old Timers Day prior to a game between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on June 22, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  The Orioles defeated the Yankees 8-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Gene Michael, who spent a decade as an MLB shortstop before later rising to prominence as a New York Yankees executive, has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 79.

Mike Mazzeo and Bill Madden of the New York Daily News reported the details of his death. Mark Feinsand‏ of MLB.com passed along comments from Yankees president Randy Levine about the news.

"Stick was a great man with enormous heart and integrity," he said, using Michael's nickname. "One of the greatest baseball executives of our time."

Michael served as the Yankees' general manager in the early 1990s, laying the foundation for the team's success in the years that followed, including four World Series titles from 1996 through 2000.

The Ohio native acquired the Core Four—Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada—who played a pivotal role in that stretch of dominance.

In 1994, amid questions about whether Jeter could live up to the hype, Michael told Jack Curry of the New York Times he was confident in the player who'd eventually become the team's longtime captain.

"He's the real thing," he said. "I liked what I saw of him. He's getting there."

Jeter made his debut one year later and went on to earn 14 All-Star Game selections while helping the Yanks capture five World Series trophies.

Before his work in the New York front office, Michael spent two seasons each as manager of the Yankees (1981-82) and Chicago Cubs (1986-87), accumulating a 206-200 record.

The Kent State University product made stops with the Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers during his playing career. He posted a .229/.288/.284 triple-slash line across 973 appearances at the major league level.

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