Michael in 2014
|Shortstop / Manager|
June 2, 1938 |
|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|
Michael earned the nickname "Stick" due to his skinny frame. After finishing high school, he went to Kent State University where he played baseball and basketball. After being signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1959, Michael spent 10 seasons in the major leagues playing mostly at shortstop. He spent only one year with the Pirates, his first season in the majors (1966). That winter he played basketball with the Columbus Comets of the North American Basketball Association (1966–67 season) (He would later return to Columbus in 1979 to manage the Columbus Clippers minor league baseball team). The following year he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with Bob Bailey for Maury Wills. He would only spend one season in Los Angeles, and was then purchased by the New York Yankees. He played for the Yankees from 1968 until 1974, beginning what would be a lifetime relationship with the team. His last season in the majors was in 1975 when he played for the Detroit Tigers. Michael then signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1976, but did not play a game with Boston, staying on the roster just long enough to accrue ten years of service time.
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 and was manager of the Yankees in both 1981 and 1982, although it was in two separate tenures. He would manage the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and 1987, the only post-retirement years not spent with the Yankees. He was replaced as Cubs manager the following season by Don Zimmer. In 1990, he was made general manager of the Yankees, during this time he built the Yankees farm system and laid the seeds for their dominance in the second half of the decade. This was facilitated in part by the suspension of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who had earned a reputation as a meddler. The Yankees also began building 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 popular prospect Roberto Kelly for Paul O'Neill, whose fiery persona and play would become a cornerstone for the team. 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 strike that year.
From 1996 until 2002, Michael served as vice-president of major league scouting for the Yankees, and in 2003 was promoted to vice-president and senior advisor. In 2002, the Boston Red Sox tried to talk to Michael about their general manager position, but were not given permission by the Yankees.
- Johnson, Richard A.; Stout, Glenn; Johnson, Dick (2002). Yankees Century: 100 Years of New York Yankees Baseball. Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 386–390. ISBN 0-618-08527-0.
- O'Connell, Jack (September 9, 1994). "Behind Two Strikes? Yankees' Shot at First Series Since '81 in Jeopardy". Hartford Courant. p. C1.
'The strike cost me my job,' said Gene Michael, the Yankees' current general manager who was fired as their manager Sept. 6, 1981 and replaced by Bob Lemon. 'There's no doubt in my mind we would have won the division outright if it had not been for the strike. Once they split the season and designated us winners of the first half, we did not play the same.'
- Curry, Jack (August 7, 1994). "BASEBALL; Flashback to '81: Another Lead, Another Strike". The New York Times. p. A1.
- Edes, Gordon (October 18, 2002). "Red Sox Strike Out on Michael". Boston Globe. p. E3.
- McCarron, Anthony (October 18, 2002). "Stick is Stuck with Yankees; Boss won't allow him to talk to Sox". New York Daily News. p. 86.
- Durso, Joseph (August 20, 1972). "Most N. Y. Yankees Call N. J. Home". The New York Times.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)