Thank You, Stick

You could start a very interesting debate trying to apportion the credit for this era of Yankee history to say five people. But no matter what five names you ended up with, Gene Michael would have to be one of them.

It was Michael who took over control of the team when George Steinbrenner was banned from baseball. It was Michael who rebuilt the farm system, installed Buck Showalter as manager, and traded for Paul O’Neill. And it was Michael who withstood the tantrums and ravings of the Boss, not allowing him to undo all the work that Michael had accomplished.

Without Michael you probably would have seen Derek Jeter in a different uniform. You certainly would have seen Bernie Williams traded. Michael had to actually lie to Steinbrenner and tell him other teams didn’t want Bernie, to keep him from being sent to another club. You probably would not have seen five championships and it is very possible that the Yankees are currently playing in a stadium in North Jersey.

In short, Yankee fans of the past twenty-five years owe an enormous debt to Gene Michael. RIP