Gene "Stick" Michael, the former Major League player, manager, general manager and executive best known as the architect of the NYankees' 1990s dynasty, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 79.
Michael had already spent two decades in baseball when he was named GM of the Yankees in 1990, the start of a five-year tenure that would define his career. From 1990-95, Michael built the farm system that would help yield four World Series championships in the five years to close out the decade.
Under Michael's watch, the Yankees acquired players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Paul O'Neill, either via signings, the Draft or trade."Stick was a great man with enormous heart and integrity," Yankees president Randy Levine said. "One of the greatest baseball executives of our time. He was central to the success of the Yankees."Born in 1938 in Kent, Ohio, Michael parlayed a two-sport career at Kent State into a 10-year run as a Major League shortstop, seven of them (1968-74) with the Yankees. He became a coach with the club after retiring from playing in 1975, and managed the team across two separate tenures in 1981 and 1982. Michael also managed the Cubs from 1986-87. In total, Michael spent parts of six decades in baseball, serving as a player, coach, manager, scout and executive. "He'd seen the game from a lot of different angles," Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said. "We really respected his opinion. I talked to him about my game and my approach to the game, things he liked and didn't like. I've been around here a long time and so has he, so our paths have crossed numerous times and I was a big fan of his."
Joe Trezza/

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