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Gene Michael, Legendary Shortstop and Manager for the New York Yankees, Dead at 79

Gene “Stick” Michael, the former New York Yankees shortstop and manager, has died of a heart attack. Yankees fans know the name well, as his efforts helped rebuild the organization into a dynasty during the late 1990s.

Michael was a talented infielder who went on to manage the Yankees. Later, as a front-office executive under George Steinbrenner, he built a team that won four World Series titles in just five years.

At 6-foot-2 and about 180 pounds in his playing days, Michael earned the nicknamed “Stick.” This was during one of the Yankee’s worse eras: from 1969 to 1974.

This is a heartbreaking loss for New York baseball fans:

He made a far bigger impact during two terms as manager and two as general manager. He helped assemble the Derek Jeter-led clubs that won World Series titles in 1996 and from 1998 to 2000. He remained a key adviser to current general manager Brian Cashman.

“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 released by the Yankees. “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.”

On Twitter, the Yogi Berra museum put out a statement: “Devastated to hear about the loss of Gene Michael. We’ll miss you dearly, Stick.”

Let us pray for Michael’s family during this difficult time. Rest in peace.