Michael in 2014
|Shortstop / Manager|
|Born: (1938-06-02)June 2, 1938
|Died: September 7, 2017(2017-09-07) (aged 79)
|July 15, 1966, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 9, 1975, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||226|
As general manager
|Career highlights and awards|
Eugene Richard Michael (June 2, 1938 – September 7, 2017), nicknamed “Stick“, was an American professional baseball player, coach, scout, manager and executive. He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers from 1966 to 1975. After his playing career, Michael managed the Yankees and Chicago Cubs, and served as the Yankees’ general manager. Michael built the Yankees team which became a dynasty in the late 1990s.
Michael earned the nickname “Stick” due to his slender frame. After graduating from Akron East High School in Akron, Ohio, he went to Kent State University where he played college baseball and college basketball for the Kent State Golden Flashes. After being signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1959, Michael made his major league debut with the Pirates in 1966.
The following year, the Pirates traded Michael to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Bob Bailey for Maury Wills. He spent one season in Los Angeles, and was then purchased by the New York Yankees. He played for the Yankees from 1968 until 1974. The Yankees released Michael before the 1975 season, and he signed with the Detroit Tigers. Michael then signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1976, but did not play a game with Boston. Michael was a master of the hidden ball trick, having pulled it off five times in his career.
After retiring, Michael became a coach with the Yankees. Reggie Jackson credited Michael’s scouting reports for helping him hit three home runs in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. He served as manager of the Yankees’ Triple-A team in 1979, and as general manager of the Yankees in 1980. Michael served as the Yankees’ manager in 1981 and again in 1982. He finished with a record of 92 wins and 76 losses over both stints as Yankees manager. He managed the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and 1987. His managerial record with the Chicago Cubs was 114 wins and 124 losses.
In 1990, Michael was hired as general manager of the Yankees. As general manager, he built the Yankees’ farm system, as they developed young talent rather than trading it away, as they had done in the 1980s with little success. During Michael’s tenure as general manager, the Yankees drafted or signed such notable players as Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada (collectively known as the Core Four), and others. Further, he traded for Paul O’Neill.
This foundation paid off with Yankee championships in 1996, and from 1998–2000. However, Michael was fired before the Yankees dynasty began, as a result of the fallouts from the 1994 strike, which ruined the Yankees having the best record in the American League that year in 1995. It was the second time that the Yankees fired Michael as a result of a strike; in 1981, he was fired as manager as a result of the team slumping after the 1981 strike.
From 1996 until 2002, Michael served as vice-president of major league scouting for the Yankees. In 2002, the Boston Red Sox tried to talk to Michael about their general manager position, but were not given permission by the Yankees. In 2003, Michael was promoted to vice-president and senior advisor.
|New York Yankees||1981||1981||82||48||34||.585|
|New York Yankees||1982||1982||86||44||42||.512|
During his tenure with the Yankees, Michael had been a resident of Norwood, New Jersey, and had four children. He married twice, residing in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Michael died of a heart attack on September 7, 2017, in Oldsmar, Florida.