Gene Michael, the former Yankees general manager responsible for building their dominant teams of the 90’s has died, the team confirmed. He was 79.
The New York Daily News reported that Michael died of a heart attack and had undergone heart surgery earlier this year.
Michael played 10 years in the majors as a light-hitting shortstop with the Pirates, Dodgers, Yankees and Tigers. He also spent parts of two seasons as manager of the Yankees and another two years managing the Cubs.
The Yankees hired Michael to be their general manager in 1990 and he set about building the team from the bottom up, focusing on the farm system. In the 22nd round of his first draft as GM, Michael selected a high school pitcher from Texas named Andy Pettitte. Two rounds later he picked Jorge Posada. That same year, he signed Mariano Rivera as an amateur free agent. With the sixth pick in the 1992 draft, Michael chose Derek Jeter.
The Yankees fired Michael in 1995, one year before their first World Series of the decade, but his role in building those championship teams is undeniable.
The Yankees brought Michael back as director of major league scouting in 1996 and promoted him to senior advisor in 2003.