Gene Michael, the man who built the Yankees dynasty, dead at 79

Big League Stew
Gene Michael was a player, manager and general manager for the Yankees. (AP Photo)
Gene Michael was a player, manager and general manager for the Yankees. (AP Photo)

Former New York Yankees player, manager and general manager Gene “Stick” Michael has died of a heart attack, according to the New York Daily News. He was 79.

Michael was best known for his tenure as the Yankees general manager from 1991 to 1995. During that period, the team acquired Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada. That group is known today, of course, as the Core Four. They helped lead the Yankees to four World Series championships between 1996 and 2000.

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Michael’s ties to the Yankees organization went far beyond his stint as the team’s general manager. He spent seven of his 10 years in the majors as the team’s shortstop, and managed the club in 1981 and 1982.

The Yankees released a statement calling Michael a “pillar of this organization for decades.”

Michael’s impact on the game exceeded his smart player acquisitions as the club’s GM. There’s been an outpouring of admiration for Michael from his former players, friends and executives in the game.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter — who managed the Yankees for most of Michael’s tenure as GM — said he needed to pull to the side of the road after hearing the news.

Paul O’Neill, who Michael acquired in a 1992 trade, thanked Michael for giving him an opportunity to play for the Yankees.

The club plans to wear arm bands on their left sleeves in memory of Michael.

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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik

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