Former Yankees GM Gene Michael Dead Of Heart Attack At 79 Full view

Gene "Stick" Michael receives the AL Bobby Murcer Award on behalf of the Yankees at the BAT Dinner. (via Wikipedia Commons)

Former Yankees GM Gene Michael Dead Of Heart Attack At 79

Former Yankees executive Gene Michael, who helped lead the baseball powerhouse to four World Series titles, died Thursday at his home in Oldsmar, Florida. He was 79.

The Yankees stated on their website that Michael’s cause of death was a hearth attack.

Michael — who was nicknamed “Stick” for his tall, thin figure — began his MLB career as a shortstop and infielder, and eventually became a manager for the Yankees in 1981 and 1982. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Michael then served as the Yankees’ general manager from 1990 to 1995.

During his tenure as GM, Michael helped build the “Core Four” of Yankees legends Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, via the draft or free agency. He also helped orchestrate the trade for Paul O’Neill to form the team that won World Series championships in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

The Yankees also announced that the team would honor Michael for the remainder of the season in the following way:

“I am heartbroken by Stick’s passing,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “He was both a friend and a mentor to me, and I relied upon his advice and guidance throughout my career. He did it all in this industry — player, coach, manager, general manager and scout — and his knowledge base was second to none. My condolences go out to his family, friends and all those he touched throughout his lifetime in the game. I will miss him.”

Jeter also lauded Michael — who also served as a special assistant to late Yankees owner and GM George Steinbrenner — for helping him grow as a player.

“Gene Michael was not only largely responsible for the success of the Yankees organization, but also for my development as a player,” Jeter said in a statement. “He was always accessible and willing to share his personal knowledge as well as support. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his entire family.”

Former Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams also lamented Michael’s passing.

Michael made his major league debut with the Pirates in 1966 before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers sold him to the Yankees after the 1967 season. He finished his career as a player with the1975 Detroit Tigers under Ralph Houk, his former manager with the Yankees. He signed with the Red Sox after that season, although they never put him in the lineup and released him in May 1976.

He retired as a player with a career batting average of .229 and only 15 home runs.

Michael also managed the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and 1987. He compiled a 206-200 career record as a manager.

 

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Written by Pablo Mena