RIP Gene ‘Stick’ Michael

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NYDNGene “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.

This is a tough one for all Yankee fans, but especially those around for the Yankees dynasty in the late 90’s. Gene Michael was named GM for the 1991 season while George Steinbrenner was suspended for hiring a PI to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield and took advantage of the boss’ absence.

As Yankee fans, we often say a decision today wouldn’t fly if the boss was alive, but in reality the success many of us know was thanks to this suspension. While “The Boss” was unable to run the team on a day to day basis from 1990-1993, Michael went out and traded Roberto Kelly for Paul O’Neill and signed or drafter a little group known as “The Core 4″. Even though he was let go as GM in 1995 and moved to role in scouting, Yankee fans and the organization, credit “Stick” for the 4 World Series titles from 1996-2000.

As the 2000s went on, the Yankees got further and further away from this model as we signed big free agents year in and year out, to try and buy a championship. In 2009 we were able to pull it off but in the 8 years since, we’ve struggled and overpaid stars past their prime. Today we have a young team and have one of the strongest minor league systems in the game thanks to the organization looking at how Michael built our system in the 90’s and looking to recreate it.

Put the black armbands on the jerseys, and lets go win one for “Stick”.

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