Gene “Stick” Michael, the beloved Yankees executive who helped build their late-1990s dynasty teams and drafted Derek Jeter, has died of a heart attack at age 79, the Daily News has learned.
It is believed Michael underwent a procedure on his heart earlier this year, but the news was kept private.
Michael served as the manager of the Yankees in 1981-82 and as their GM from 1991-95.
During Michael’s tenure as GM, he rebuilt the farm system, adding the likes of Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada either in the draft or free agency. He also traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill. That core group helped the Bombers to championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
The news of Michael’s death led to a swift outpouring of affection for the man known as “Stick.”
Buck Showalter, who Michael hired to be the Yankees skipper in 1992, said he had to pull over to the side of the road when his wife called him with the tough news Thursday.
“He was the best baseball man I ever saw,” the Orioles manager said before his club faced the Yankees in Baltimore. “He never missed on an infielder.”
“Crushed,” David Cone tweeted. “We just lost a great man on and off the field. Touched so many lives. RIP Stick.”
Paul O’Neill, who Michael traded for in 1992, also shared his thoughts via social media.
“So sorry to hear about Gene Michael,” O’Neill tweeted. “Thank you for giving me the best opportunity of my life: playing for the Yankees … you will be missed!!!”
The Yankees will wear arm bands on their left sleeves in memory of Michael.
Published at Thu, 07 Sep 2017 16:03:59 +0000