Former New York Yankees general manager Gene Michael died on Thursday at the age of 79 from a heart attack.
The man known as “Stick” began his baseball career as a player, spending 10 MLB seasons from 1966-1975 as a light-hitting shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, Yankees and Detroit Tigers.
After his playing days, he managed, including a short stint with the Yankees from 1981-1982. He was brought back to the team in 1990 as general manager and immediately left his mark, helping piece together a team that won World Series titles in 1996 and 1998-2000.
Here is a look at some of the best moves he made:
February 1990- Signs Mariano Rivera
The Yankees found a skinny pitcher down in Panama that couldn’t touch 90 miles per hour on the radar gun.
Yet Michael and the Yankees brought Mariano Rivera on and developed him into the game’s greatest closer thanks to a cutter that is now the stuff of legend.
Rivera’s 652 saves are the most in MLB history, so are his 952 games finished.
June 1990- Drafts Andy Pettitte
A 22nd-round selection out of Deer Park High School in Texas, Pettitte was Michael’s first diamond in the rough.
The left-hander with a devastating pick-off move won 256 games in his MLB career, 219 of them with the Yankees.
He was a part of five championship teams in New York.
June 1992- Drafts Derek Jeter
Michael drafted Jeter sixth overall out of Central High School in Kalamazoo, MI.
Three years later, the shortstop was in the majors and developed into one of the faces of a generation in Major League Baseball.
Jeter was a marquee face of the Yankees’ dynasty and later went on to captain the club to a 2009 World Series win.
In 20 seasons, he became the franchise leader in hits with 3,465. In fact, he is the only Yankee to ever collect all 3,000 hits with the club.