Former Yankees exec Gene ‘Stick’ Michael dies at 79 | Baseball world reacts – NJ.com

Gene “Stick” Michael, the former Yankees shortstop, manager, general manager, super scout and executive who helped build the franchise’s dynasty teams of the 1990s, has died of a heart attack at age 79.

Michael was installed as the general manager in 1990 while meddlesome owner George Steinbrenner served a two-year suspension for paying an informant to get dirt on outfielder Dave Winfield.

He became the architect of teams that won four titles in five seasons.

With Steinbrenner out of the way, Michael rebuilt the farm system, which had been decimated by years of trading young talent for big names. Michael’s keen eye provided the Yankees with rosters that included Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.

In possibly the most lopsided Yankees trade since Babe Ruth was acquired, Michael obtained Paul O’Neill from the Cincinnati Reds in November 1992 as he continued to build a franchise that eventually won titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.

Michael was the Yankees manager in 1981-82 and their GM from 1991-95. He played for the Yankees from 1968 to 1974, earning the nickname “Stick” because of his slender physique. Michael, known for his glove, batted .229 in 10 major league seasons. He was known for pulling the hidden ball trick — hiding the ball in his glove and tagging out a runner who wandered off second base.

Brendan Kuty may be reached at bkuty@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanKutyNJ. Find NJ.com Yankees on Facebook.

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