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    Gene Michael, architect of 1990s Yankees dynasty, dies at age 79
    In addition to serving as the Yankees general manager, Michael also managed the Yankees and Cubs

    by Matt Snyder

    Gene Michael has died at age 79 due to a heart attack, Major League Baseball announced on Thursday morning.
    Michael, known lovingly to those who knew him as “Stick,” is most well-known for being the architect of the 1990s Yankees dynasty.
    “I am heartbroken by Stick’s passing,” general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “He was both a friend and mentor to me, and I relied upon his advice and gui 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.”
    Michael took over as general manager in 1990, when the Yankees finished with a losing record for the second consecutive season and hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1981, a seeming eternity for that franchise. He would serve in the role until he was fired in 1995, despite the Yankees having the best record in the AL when the strike happened in 1994 and then winning the AL East in 1995.
    With Michael at the helm, the Yankees would acquire either via draft, trade or international signing the nucleus of the next Yankees dynasty in players such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neil and David Cone. As we all know now, that was the foundation of Yankees teams that would win the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 while also winning the 2001 and 2003 AL pennants.
    Starting in 1996, Michael would serve as vice president of major-league scouting for the Yankees. He would hold the title of vice president and senior adviser from 2006 until his passing. A prominent fixture at Yankee Stadium for years, Michael has touched both past and present players as we saw on Thursday from David Cone:

    Brett Gardner on Gene Michael: “He’d seen the game from a lot of different angles. We really respected his opinion. I was a big fan of him.”

    “Gene Michael was not only largely responsible for the success of the Yankees organization, but also for my development as a player,” said Jeter. “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.”
    Back in his playing days, Michael appeared in parts of 10 MLB seasons for the Yankees (seven years), Pirates, Dodgers and Tigers. He was mostly a shortstop but also played third and second. He was a career .229/.288/.284 hitter. He earned the nickname “Stick” back in those days for his slender frame.
    Post-playing days, Michael’s first managerial job was with the Yankees in 1981, when he led them to the World Series. They lost and after his team played to a 44-42 record the next season, Michael was fired. He ended up managing the Cubs for parts of 1986 and 1987 before moving on.
    It was his next stint with the Yankees for which Michael was most remembered. And he’ll be both greatly remembered and sorely missed by the Major League Baseball family.
    “Stick was a pillar of this organization for decades,” Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner said. “He knew the game of baseball like few others did, and was always willing and excited to talk about it with anyone in earshot. His contributions to the Yankees over the years have been immeasurable. He loved baseball and this organization, and he will be profoundly missed. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, Joette, and his entire family.”
    In Michael’s memory, the Yankees will wear black arm band on the left sleeve of their jerseys the rest of the season.