In what was to be his last act as principal owner, in late August
of that season, Steinbrenner named Gene Michael general manager.
It only changed Yankees history — and baseball history —
Michael died of a heart attack Thursday at age 79. His final
career average as a player was .229, but he was a giant of the
game, the guy who put the cornerstones in place for the last
Yankees dynasty. […]
Michael was always firm that the most important organization to
scout was your own, and he made scads of trades to improve those
early 1990 Yankees, but he never touched Williams, Derek Jeter,
Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte or Jorge Posada, even at times when
Steinbrenner — who returned in 1993 — would scream to do so. The
Boss had a particular early fascination with wanting to get rid of
Williams, and Stick would resort to lying that he had called other
clubs and no one wanted Williams as a way to protect him.
He put together the best team I’ve ever seen, and everyone who knew him seems to have loved him.