Longtime Yankees stalwart Gene “Stick” Michael has passed away, the New York Post reports. Michael, who served the organization in a variety of capacities over several decades, was 79 years of age.
Michael was long a key figure around Yankee Stadium, playing and managing the Bronx Bombers before eventually moving over to the operations side. Following a stint as the Cubs’ manager, he took the reins as Yankees’ general manager before the 1991 season, with the club still reeling from consecutive sub-.500 finishes and disciplinary action against owner George Steinbrenner.
Though the Yanks took a few years to resume their winning ways, they finally returned to the postseason in 1995 — Michael’s last season as the GM. While he did not get to oversee the full blossoming of the roster he built from the GM seat, Michael remained in the organization in a scouting and advisory role.
Of course, many of the players installed during Michael’s tenure ended up leading the Yankees back to glory. As the Post notes, Michael was at the helm when the team gathered together the entire “Cour Four” — Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada — that would go on to win the World Series in four of five seasons between 1996 and 2000.
Beyond his renown as a baseball man, Michael was seen as a passionate and caring figure on a personal level — as today’s outpouring of grief suggests and as Joel Sherman of the New York Post captures in a column. MLBTR joins those around the game in extending its best wishes to his family and friends.