Gene Michael (TRADING CARD DB)

Gene Michael

This article was written by Robert Blackstock

Gene Michael (TRADING CARD DB)Gene “Stick” Michael is the only person to serve, at one time or another, as player, scout, manager, and general manager for the New York Yankees. His exceptional work as their general manager from 1990-1995 led to four world championships. However, throughout his life he lamented not pursuing professional basketball. He was loved by his co-workers and friends in and out of baseball.

Eugene Richard Michael was born June 2, 1938 to Claude and Verna Michael in Kent, Ohio. Claude and Verna were from West Virginia originally but lived most of their lives in Akron, Ohio. Claude Michael worked at BF Goodrich. Gene starred in baseball and basketball at East High School in Akron. He enrolled in Kent State University with a baseball/basketball scholarship. In 1958 he was selected as the Kent State outstanding sophomore basketball player. The 6-foot-3 Michael led the team in scoring, field goal percentage and was second in rebounds.

Gene also excelled in baseball at Kent State and was invited to a workout at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field in front of Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Joe L. Brown, manager Danny Murtaugh, and coach George Sisler. The workout went well. Brown said, “We feel Gene has the qualities to make him an outstanding major league shortstop.”1 Pirates scout Joe Fenton said, “Michael is one of the greatest finds ever.”2 The Pirates signed Gene to a contract with a $25,000 bonus on September 5, 1958.

Michael’s Kent State basketball coach Bill Bertka3 said, “I wish “Mike” (eventually nicknamed Stick because of his slight build) all the luck in the world, but I was hoping he’d go on to a professional basketball career.”4 Years later at a Kent State banquet in 2004 Bertka remembered, “Gene had a lot of basketball talent. He was cut from the same image as Jerry West.”5

Michael slowly grinded his way up the minor leagues with stops with the Grand Fork Chiefs, Savannah Pirates, Hobbs Pirates, Kinston Eagles, Columbus Jets and then reaching the Pirates in 1966. Michael made his major league debut on July 15 as a pinch-hitter against the Chicago Cubs. He had his first major league hit, a double, on July 17 against Bob Priddy of the San Francisco Giants. He batted .152 in 33 at-bats for the Pirates in 1966.

Michael was frustrated because he did not think he would get a chance with the Pirates. After the season Michael urged Brown to trade him and threatened to quit if he didn’t. Brown responded, “Sorry Gene I doubt if we can get anything for you.”6 However, the Dodgers were upset at their shortstop Maury Wills, who had left the team during an offseason exhibition trip through Japan. As a result, the Dodgers traded Wills to the Pirates for Michael and Bob Bailey.

Dodgers’ manager Walt Alston was excited about Michael’s potential. Alston said, “They tell me that Michael’s on-base average was almost 50%”7 for Columbus last year (actually .363). Gene was the regular shortstop, appearing in 52 of the first 53 games for the Dodgers but batted only .213. He only had 51 plate appearances thereafter due to his poor performance.

Michael was frustrated being benched and thought about converting to a pitcher. Alston told him he could try pitching in winter ball. Michael also said he was considering a tentative offer from the American Basketball Association.8

During a few offseasons Michael was a substitute teacher in the Akron area.9 He also played basketball in amateur leagues in Akron. For the 1962-63 season he was named to the National Amateur Basketball third team.

After the 1967 season, the Dodgers sold Michael to the New York Yankees. With the Yankees in 1968, Michael played in 33 of the first 46 games, starting 30 of them. Due to poor performance he only started seven games the rest of the season. He batted .198 for the year. In May, demonstrating his combativeness, he got into a fight with first baseman Tony Horton of the Cleveland Indians on a pick-off attempt at first base.10 Also during the season on August 26, Michael pitched three innings, giving up five hits and five runs, all unearned in a game against the Angels. The Yankees were losing 5-1 to the Angels when Michael entered as pitcher in the seventh inning. Yankees outfielder Rocky Colavito pitched the day before in relief and got the win. Manager Ralph Houk said he used Michael and Colavito as pitchers to get the Yankees through the rash of doubleheaders.

Gene Michael (TRADING CARD DB)During the offseason, Michael said, “I know I didn’t do a good job. I was probably benched as much for my fielding as my hitting.”11 Michael remembered he received a no-cut offer from the NBA Pistons after a couple seasons in the minor leagues but didn’t want the Pirates to be down on him.12 “That’s where I made my big mistake. I didn’t have a weakness as a guard. I thought I could do anything. As a baseball player I’ve always had a little trouble with the bat.”13

In 1969, Michael only started nine games through May, but the Yankees traded their starting shortstop Tom Tresh to the Tigers, and Michael became the regular shortstop. He hit a career high .272. Michael said that it was hitting instructions from first baseman Joe Pepitone and encouragement from coach Elston Howard that made the difference. 14

In 1970, Michael started 124 games, batting .214, but led the league in errors for shortstops with 28. Through August 8, Michael had appeared in 103 games, starting 100 of New York’s first 111games. Prospect Frank Baker was promoted and alternated with Michael the rest of the way at shortstop for the Yankees. Michael started only 24 of the 51 games after Baker’s arrival.

Reflecting back on the 1970 season Michael said, “I made a mistake last year. I became selective. I was looking for pitches I liked instead of being aggressive. The year before I went after the ball. Last year I waited too much. I can correct that.”15

The Yankees’ plan heading into the 1971 season was for Baker to start at shortstop, Michael would compete against Horace Clarke for second base. After Baker struggled in spring training batting .026 and committing eight errors, Michael was named the starter at shortstop.

Michael got off to a good start in 1971. In May, Joe Trimble of the New York Daily News wrote, “Michael is out-hitting (.250) every regular shortstop in the league.”16 Trimble added, “He is playing better shortstop than any other man in the American League right now.”17

In the May 23, 1971 game against the Indians, Sam McDowell slid into Michael at second base and took him out. A fight ensued. Indians manager Alvin Dark was incensed at Michael, “He went after Sam. He knows it. Michael has done this before. He’d better watch out in the future.”18 Michael said, “Sam can throw, but he can’t punch.”19 Akron boxing promoter Don Elbaum proposed a fight between McDowell and Michael for $5,000. Both players agreed but their teams said no.

Michael began to be recognized for his contributions. He agreed to a $40,000 contract for the 1972 season with the Yankees. General Manager Lee McPhail told Michael, “If I ever overpaid anyone it would be you.”20

To start the 1972 season, Michael led the Yankees in RBIs into May. He joked, “That’s what’s wrong with our ball club; I’m leading in RBIs.”21 Michael ended up batting .233. However, Red Foley of the Daily News wrote that Michael’s “contributions are more subtle than sensational.”22 He added, “he has good bat control and hits behind runners.”23 At season’s end, manager Ralph Houk told Michael, “you did a helluva job this year.” 24

New York Daily News columnist Dick Young was another admirer of Michael. He wrote, “If you give each big leaguer points for being a gentleman and ballplayer, and add them together, Gene Michael ranks high.”25

Heading into 1973, Michael avoided arbitration, stating, “How can I expect an arbitrator to decide in my favor? I don’t have the statistics. My argument is that I help doing little things that don’t show in stats, defense, moving runners along, things like that.”26 Michael earned a $7,500 raise. Phil Pepe of the Daily News wrote, “Michael isn’t getting paid for his bat. He’s getting paid for his glove — and his head.” 27

The American League adopted the designated hitter rule in 1973 to add more offense to the game. As a result, Michael was the first ninth-place hitter with the designated hitter in the lineup. On May 25, 1973 Michael hit a home run off of Steve Foucault of the Texas Rangers, and he hit another home run the next day off of Don Stanhouse becoming the first ninth-place hitter to hit home runs in consecutive games.28

He also performed his fifth career hidden ball trick against Vic Harris of the Texas Rangers on June 6, 1973 in a 5-2 Yankee win.

In the August 8, 1973 game against Boston, Michael was batting with Thurman Munson on third and the Yankees attempted a suicide squeeze bunt. Michael missed the pitch and Carlton Fisk pushed Michael out of the way and Munson crashed into Fisk. A fight ensued with benches emptying. Michael “lunged over half a dozen shoulders to throw a series of rights at Fisk.”29 Michael finished 1973 with a career high 47 RBIs and a .225 batting average.

In the 1974 season, Michael, at age 36, played in only 81 games. The Yankees, by then, had not won a pennant since 1964 and were looking, under new owner George Steinbrenner, for younger players. Consequently, in January 1975, the Yankees placed Michael on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. General Manager Gabe Paul said, “You don’t let players go who can help your club. I think Gene is a fine baseball man; he can be a manager someday if he does the things necessary to become a manager.”30 Michael said he would sign with a contender or if not, he would enjoy his job in electronic sales in the offseason. Michael disagreed with the decision to release him, though, saying, “Gabe Paul stinks.”31

The Detroit Tigers, who were managed by former Yankees manager Ralph Houk, signed Michael to back up Tom Veryzer at shortstop. Michael said, “Veryzer plays the game more intelligently than any young shortstop in the league.”32 Ironically, Tom Veryzer is the most similar player to Gene Michael based on Baseball Reference.com. Michael played in 56 games and batted .214 in 1975. The Tigers released Michael after the season.

The Boston Red Sox signed Michael as a free agent in February 1976. Red Sox General Manager Dick O’Connell said, “We know he can’t hit. He is infield insurance.”33 The Red Sox had Michael throw batting practice using his knuckleball to help the Red Sox prepare for knuckleball pitcher Wilbur Wood but other than that he did not do much. The Red Sox released Michael in early May. Michael never played in a game for the Red Sox.

Michael’s playing career was over. Michael batted .229 with 15 homeruns and 226 RBIs for his ten year career. Bob Nold summarized Michael’s career in the Akron Beacon Journal, “For five years he (Michael) walked the hallowed grounds of old Yankee Stadium. He dressed and played where the ghosts of yesterday’s greats dressed and played. He’s as good a shortstop as there is in the American League said Phil Rizzuto only a few years back…If there’s another fleck of a dream still to come, more power to him. If not, I’ll simply lift my glass and say, Well done, old friend.”34 Actually, Michael’s baseball career really took off at this point, but in another direction.

The Yankees hired Michael as a part-time assignment scout and roving instructor in June 1976. In early 1977 he was named administrative assistant to Steinbrenner. One of his responsibilities was setting the defense by sitting in the press box using a walkie-talkie with a coach in the dugout. In one incident, White Sox owner Bill Veeck placed an employee in the press box to monitor Michael to make sure he was not illegally stealing signs.

After the 1977 season Michael was named base coach for the 1978 season which according to sportswriter Phil Pepe was “certain to lead to speculation he is manager-in-waiting should Billy Martin get bounced.”35 Martin was fired during the season when the Yankees were in fourth place ten games out. He was replaced by Bob Lemon who led the Yankees to a World Series victory in 1978. Michael was appointed manager of the Yankees’ Triple-A team in Columbus in 1979 and led them to the International League championship.

Heading into the 1980 season, Steinbrenner named Dick Howser manager and Michael general manager. Pepe observed, “Steinbrenner took an immediate liking to Michael and decided to groom him for a spot high in the Yankees organization. Steinbrenner saw something in Michael that attracted him. Perhaps it was the fact they were both from Ohio. More likely, Steinbrenner admired Michael’s facile mind, his knowledge of baseball and his combativeness.”36

As general manager, Michael signed outfielder Bob Watson and pitcher Rudy May, and traded for catcher Rick Cerone and pitcher Tom Underwood. He acquired Ruppert Jones from Seattle. The Yankees won 103 games and finished in first place in the AL East but got swept by the Kansas City Royals in the playoffs.

Steinbrenner was upset with being swept and fired Howser. He wanted a more hard-nosed manager with more discipline and more combativeness with umpires. As a result, he named Michael manager. Steinbrenner said, “Gene Michael has the sort of leadership qualities necessary to manage the Yankees.”37 Steinbrenner said, “I think Bobby Murcer told me, if there is gonna to be a fight on the field I want Gene Michael on my side.”38

Michael said his approach as manager was to “communicate with players, attempt to make them understand the things I feel I must do. I intend to be honest and open with them; if there are problems we will attempt to work them out together.”39

The 1981 season had division winners for the first half ending June 11 and second half starting August 10 of a strike-interrupted season. The Yankees won the first half with a 34-22 record, clinching a playoff berth. The Yankees got off to a 14-12 record in the second half. Steinbrenner was frustrated with the Yankees’ effort and results and fired Michael in early September. A week earlier Michael had blasted Steinbrenner in the press stating that threats and harassment from Steinbrenner had been constant since spring training. He told Steinbrenner, “to fire me, do it instead of actually talking about it.”40

Lemon replaced Michael and led the Yankees to the World Series but lost in six games to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Michael was voted a half-share of the postseason money.

The Yankees got off to a slow start in 1982, and Steinbrenner fired Lemon and replaced him with Michael on April 26. The Yankees were 44-42 under Michael. On August 5, Steinbrenner had seen enough and fired Michael, replacing him with Clyde King. Steinbrenner said that replacing Michael was “the toughest thing I had to do. It was like doing it to my own son. I’d rather give away five or six players than do this to Gene, but you can’t do that in baseball. I don’t think Gene did a bad job, but I really believe he belongs up here in the front office. He’s a great evaluator of talent and did a wonderful job for me in 1980. We worked well together.”41

Michael was moved to the front office for 1983. Asked what his title was, Michael joked “survivor.”42 Michael was the third-base coach for 1984, 1985, and part of the 1986 season.

In mid-June, 1986, the Chicago Cubs hired Michael as their manager. The Cubs started the season with a 23-33 record under manager Jim Frey. General manager Dallas Green was not satisfied. Green said, “Gene is a baseball guy. When I was going through my mind as to who was available, Gene stuck out like a sore thumb.”43 Green added, “I consider himself to be a lot like me. He’s quite similar to me in that he’s had front office experience as well as managing on the field.”44 Steinbrenner said, “I feel almost like a father whose son is going off to college and is leaving home for the first time.”45

Gene Michael (TRADING CARD DB)Unfortunately, that was the high point in Michael’s Cubs career. Under Michael, the Cubs went 46-56 the rest of the season. Green “expressed reservations about retaining Michael”46 for another season. Green expressed concern over Michael’s lack of control over the players. However, Green was frustrated with Michael as the manager but a bigger issue was the team ranked last in ERA. Green eventually decided to bring Michael back for the 1987 season.

The Cubs got off to a good start in 1987 and were nine games over .500 on May 19 but fell to fourth place, 10 games out at the All-Star break. By September, with the Cubs at 68-68, Michael decided not to come back for another season. On September 8 he announced he was quitting at season’s end. Green accepted his resignation immediately and appointed Frank Lucchesi as manager for the rest of the year. A few months later Green said “that hiring Michael to manage the Cubs was the biggest mistake I ever made.”47 He charged Michael “just didn’t want to manage.”48 Michael responded that Green “didn’t do a good job as general manager.”49

After Michael was axed by the Cubs, the Yankees hired him back as a chief major-league scout in the eastern half of the country.

Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent suspended Steinbrenner from baseball operations in 1990 because of the Yankees owner’s efforts to discredit Dave Winfield.50 At the time of his suspension, Steinbrenner was ready to name Tom Seaver as the general manager. He changed his mind at the last second and appointed Michael to the position.51

The Yankees struggled in the 1980s prior to Michael assuming the GM position in early 1990. Once Michael became general manager he said, “we’re going to do this thing (rebuild) right, with a little patience. We’ve tried things the other way.”52 Michael hung onto the core players Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera. Brian Cashman, who was then Michael’s assistant, said teams approached the new GM about trades but “Gene Michael was wearing himself out saying no to every team. That was especially true when it came to Jeter.” 53

Michael also had to say no to his own team. Steinbrenner and Clyde King, “who became an ad hoc troubleshooter for the Yankees owner,”54 felt Jeter was not ready for the major leagues in 1996. Steinbrenner ordered the Yanks to trade for Seattle Mariners shortstop Felix Fermin for Rivera or Yankees reliever Bob Wickman.55 Michael believed Jeter was ready for the majors and eventually got Steinbrenner to see his thinking.

Also, Michael “saw the value of players with high on-base percentages as opposed to batting averages. After the Yankees success in the 90’s, all the other general managers, Brian Cashman especially, tried to follow the formula. Gene Michael began loading up on players who would take a walk, go deep in counts and put the ball in play.”56 Michael said, “I was always explaining to our scouting people that we need guys with high on-base percentages. Not only that, but I’d say, Get me guys who take a lot of pitches and foul off a lot of pitches. Because I want to wear out their starting pitchers and get to the middle-relief pitchers, the weakest part of any team.”57

Michael’s best trade arguably was getting Paul O’Neill from Cincinnati in exchange for Roberto Kelly. Also notable was the acquisition of David Cone from the Blue Jays for pitchers Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis, and Marty Janzen. The Blue Jays pushed for Andy Pettitte, but Michael said no. Michael was the point person on the Tino Martinez trade. Seattle pushed for Rivera, Pettitte or Posada. Michael said no. The trade ended up being Sterling Hitchcock and Russell Davis for Martinez and pitcher Jeff Nelson. Michael said, “Yeah, that one turned out pretty well. My last trade. A good one.”58

With the Yankees heading towards a World Series championship in 1996, Mark Kriegel of the Daily News noted that the Yankees were in first place and the biggest reasons were Pettitte, Rivera, Williams, and Jeter. Then he summarized Michael’s contributions, adding, “But mostly what Gene Michael did was let this team grow on the farm, knowing the best deals are often the ones not made.”59

Michael wasn’t successful at everything as general manager. He attempted to sign Greg Maddux and Barry Bonds as free agents but was unsuccessful. Michael felt Maddux was the one who got away. Years later Michael said, “If we get Greg, we catch Toronto in ’93. He makes us better in ’94 before the strike. I think we beat Seattle in ’95. We obviously win it all in ’96. He puts us over the top in ’97.”60

In 1995 Steinbrenner asked Michael to stay on as general manager but Michael wanted to do other things and no longer wanted to work 15-hour days. He became the team’s primary talent evaluator. Before Michael left his general manager position, Steinbrenner instructed him to replace manager Buck Showalter and himself as general manager. Steinbrenner hired Bob Watson as the general manager and Joe Torre as manager based on Michael’s recommendations.

The Yankees won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 and Michael was the architect of those teams.

After the 2002 season, Steinbrenner denied the Red Sox permission to talk to Michael about their open general manager job. In 2003, Michael signed a six-year contract to remain with the Yankees as Vice President and Senior Advisor.

Michael summarized his relationship with Steinbrenner: “I taught him a lot about baseball, and there was no one he listened to more than me when the topic was baseball. But at the same time, he taught me a lot about hard work and how to use your strengths. He was impatient, difficult, and a pain in the butt, but he was a teacher and mentor, too.”61

Michael received many honors resulting from his baseball career and basketball participation in Northeast Ohio. In 1964 he was inducted into the Greater Akron Basketball League Hall of Fame along with future NBA Hall of Famer Gus Johnson. Gene was inducted into the Summit County (Akron) Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. In 1985, Gene was inducted into the Kent State Athletic Hall of Fame. The Kent State baseball field was named after Gene in 1989. In 1993, Michael and Thurman Munson were inducted into the Greater Akron Baseball Hall of Fame. The Akron Beacon Journal named Michael one of the top sports figures of the twentieth century from the Akron area. Also, Michael was scheduled to be inducted, posthumously, into the New York State Baseball Hall of Fame in November of 2021.

Even with all his success, Michael believed he made a mistake by not continuing his basketball career at Kent State. At a 2004 banquet at Kent State he said, “I should have come back for my junior year to play basketball (instead of signing with the Pirates). They don’t throw curveballs in basketball.”62

Michael died on September 7, 2017 at the age of 79 from a heart attack. He left wife Joette and four children. Friends and family were devastated. Lou Piniella said, “Stick was simply one of the finest men I’ve ever known. One of the smartest baseball men ever and also one of the best poker players I ever knew. I don’t think he ever made a bad trade or signing. This is just so unbelievable. I just love him.”63 New York Daily News baseball writer Bill Madden added, “So too, did everyone who knew him.”64

 

Acknowledgments

This biography was reviewed by Bill Nowlin and David Bilmes and fact-checked by Alan Cohen.

 

Notes

1 Chuck Fitt, “Bucs Pirate KSU Cage Ace Michael,” Akron Beacon Journal, September 6, 1958: 12.

2 Fitt.

3 Bertka has spent over 52 years in the NBA in various positions primarily as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. He has won 11 NBA titles with the Lakers. Amazing that Michael and Bertka connected through Kent State basketball in the late 1950s ended up making significant contributions to the success of their legendary franchises.

4 Fitt.

5 Tom Reed, “Memories to Last a Lifetime,” Akron Beacon Journal, February 3, 2004: C1.

6 Charley Feeney, “Wills Thinks He’ll Like Playing Here,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, December 2, 1966: 24.

7 Fred Down, “No Stars, Dodgers Hurting,” Hanford Sentinel, March 3, 1967: 6.

8 George Lederer, “Dodgers’ Stick is Stuck — on the Bench,” Independent Press-Telegram, July 30, 1967: S2.

9 “Shortstopping in Town,” Akron Beacon Journal, December 28, 1967, B1. I was a student in one of the classes where Gene was the substitute teacher. Gene discussed baseball during the class and gave everyone an autograph.

10 United Press International, ”Sock-It-to-‘Em Time, ”Press and Sun (Binghamton, New York), May 9, 1968, 10-B.

11 Bob Nold, “Michael looks back — and Winces,” Akron Beacon Journal, January 15, 1969: E7.

12 Bob Nold, “Michael looks back — and Winces.”

13 Bob Nold, “Michael looks back — and Winces.”

14 Jack Patterson, “Gene Makes it after 11 Years!,” Akron Beacon Journal, June 29, 1969: B2.

15 Joe Trimble, “Improved Bat Could Put Michael in Yanks Middle,” New York Daily News, December 23, 1970: 67.

16 Joe Trimble, “Yanks’ Michael Star Class,” New York Daily News, May 11, 1971: 58.

17 Joe Trimble, “Yanks’ Michael Star Class.”

18 Hank Kozloski, “Indians Split with Yankees,” Mansfield News Journal (Mansfield, Ohio), May 24, 1971: 17.

19 Hank Kozloski, “Indians Split with Yankees.”

20 Phil Pepe, “MacPhail Hooks Michael — Angling for Kenney,” New York Daily News, March 1, 1972: 113.

21 Bob Nold, “Relaxation Pays off for Munson,” Akron Beacon Journal, May 19, 1972: C5.

22 Red Foley, “Yanks and Orioles: Who Will Survive?,” New York Daily News, September 16, 1972: 21.

23 Red Foley, “Yanks and Orioles: Who Will Survive?”

24 Phil Pepe, “Yanks Coffin Nailed Shut as Lonborg Zips Em, 1-0,” New York Daily News, October 5, 1972: 132.

25 Dick Young, “Young Ideas,” New York Daily News, June 4, 1972: 141.

26 Phil Pepe, “Philling In on Florida Scene,” New York Daily News, March 13, 1973: C30.

27 Phil Pepe, “Michael Pulls Willies’ (sic) Old Legs,” New York Daily News, March 22, 1973: 112.

28 Dick Young, “Clubhouse Confidential,” New York Daily News, June 10, 1973: 41C.

29 Dick Young, “Munson, Fisk Face League Fines for Brawl,” New York Daily News, August 3, 1973: C22.

30 Phil Pepe, “Yankees Greet Michael, Then Beat Detroit 5-0,” New York Daily News, March 24, 1975: 57.

31 Joe Falls, “Lions Now No 2 in Ticket Prices,” Detroit Free Press, April 13, 1975: 14.

32 Jim Hawkins, “Michael a Fan of Tom Veryzer,” Detroit Free Press, September 25, 1975: 10.

33 “Sox Sign Gene Michael,” Berkshire Eagle, February 13, 1976: 23.

34 Bob Nold, “Never Knock the Power of a Dream,” Akron Beacon Journal, May 9, 1976, B6.

35 Phil Pepe, “Clubhouse Confidential,” New York Daily News, December 18, 1977: C30.

36 Phil Pepe, “Man on the Spot,” New York Daily News, March 13, 1981, Sports Extra 7.

37 Bill Madden, “The Stick Michael Carries is a Big One, says Steinbrenner,” New York Daily News, November 22, 1980: 28.

38 Bill Madden, “The Stick Michael Carries is a Big One, says Steinbrenner.”

39 Tom Melody, “Michael Will Write His Own Legend,” Akron Beacon Journal, January 18, 1981: D1.

40 Phil Pepe, “Michael: Fire Me,” New York Daily News, August 29, 1981: 75.

41 Phil Pepe, “Boss: Trying to Find Man to Spark Team,” New York Daily News, August 6, 1982: C27.

42 Phil Pepe, “Davis in Lap of Luxury,” New York Daily News, December 5, 1982: 93.

43 Associated Press, “Cubs Split with Cardinals, Name Michael as Manager,” Akron Beacon Journal, June 14, 1986: B4.

44 United Press International, “Green-er Pasture for Stick?,” New York Daily News, June 15, 1986: 78.

45 Bryan Oberle, “Yanks’ Michael to Manage Cubs,” Journal Star (Peoria, Illinois), June 14, 1986: C1.

46 Fred Mitchell, “Michael Burned but won’t Budge,” Chicago Tribune, October 5, 1986: Section 4 page 2.

47 Bill Madden, “Michael Rips Green over Cub failure,” New York Daily News, March 16, 1988: 60.

48 Bill Madden, “Michael Rips Green over Cub failure,” New York Daily News, March 16, 1988: 60.

49 Bill Madden, “Michael Rips Green over Cub failure.”

50 The Yankees signed Dave Winfield after the 1980 year. Winfield’s poor performance in key situations frustrated Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner called him “Mr. May.” Winfield sued the Yankees for failing to contribute $300,000 to the Winfield Foundation. As a result, Steinbrenner paid gambler Howard Spira $40,000 to dig up dirt on Winfield to discredit him. Baseball commissioner Fay Vincent investigated and suspended Steinbrenner until 1993.

51 Vic Ziegel, “The Would-be GM,” New York Daily News, January 5, 1992: 49.

52 Mike Lupica, “Yank Outbursts Are off (3d) Base,” New York Daily News, May 21, 1991: 57.

53 Bill Pennington, Chumps to Champs (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019), 194.

54 Bill Pennington, 288-89.

55 Bill Pennington, 288-89.

56 Bill Madden, “Yanks Reveal,” New York Daily News, December 9, 2009, 58.

57 Pennington, 67-68.

58 Bill Pennington, 284.

59 Mark Kriegel, “Sticks’s Reward: Life in Sticks,” New York Daily News, July 19, 1996: 94.

60 Ian O’Connor, “Maddux Is the One That Got Away,” New York Daily News, June 23, 1998: 48.

61 Pennington, 64.

62 Tom Reed, “Memories to Last a Lifetime,” Akron Beacon Journal, February 3, 2004: C1.

63 Bill Madden, “A Dynasty Mind, and a Friend, Dead at 79,” Daily News, September 8, 2017: 41.

64 Bill Madden, “A Dynasty Mind, and a Friend, Dead at 79.”

Full Name

Eugene Richard Michael

Born

June 2, 1938 at Kent, OH (USA)

Died

September 7, 2017 at Oldsmar, FL (USA)

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