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BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJOR LEAGUES : Yankees' Michael Takes a Step Down

October 19, 1995|Staff and Wire Reports

Gene Michael, facing the prospect of a $200,000 pay cut, resigned Wednesday as general manager of the New York Yankees and became the team's director of major league scouting.

The move represented yet another front-office shuffle for Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, who has had 14 general managers since he bought the team in 1973.

Michael, although general manager in title, had to answer to Steinbrenner regarding significant transactions. And many baseball executives and agents found it difficult to deal with the Yankees because of Michael's questionable authority.

There was no single issue dividing Steinbrenner and Michael. However, with the Yankees--holding a $54-million payroll, the highest in baseball--unable to advance past the first round of the playoffs, Steinbrenner sought change.

New York had a $600,000 option on Michael, but instead of exercising the option, Steinbrenner offered Michael a $400,000 salary to remain as general manager next year. Michael decided to take a $200,000 buyout from the general manager contract plus a $150,000 annual salary as a scout.

"I had a choice and I respect him for giving me that," Michael said. "I can't knock him at all. He was fair in a lot of ways with me."

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Instead of rising because of regional telecasts, ratings for the baseball playoffs declined 1% from the prime-time average two years ago.

The six nights of league championship series games averaged a 13.1 rating and 22 share, Nielsen Media Research said Wednesday. Two years ago, the eight prime-time telecasts averaged a 13.2 rating.

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Kevin Flora, traded to the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 9 along with pitcher Russ Springer in a deal that brought outfielder Dave Gallagher to the Angels, has signed a minor league contract with the Angels, the team announced. In 24 games with the Phillies, Flora batted .213 with two home runs and seven runs batted in. Flora was supposed to contend for the Angels' starting second base job in 1993, but his wife, MaryAnn, was killed in a one-car accident near Van Horn, Tex., in April, 1993, and it took Flora almost two years to recover emotionally and begin playing again. . . . Bill Collins and his Virginia baseball group have had "substantial discussions" with Houston Astro owner Drayton McLane about buying the team and moving it to the Washington area, according to a report by Washington television station WTTG-TV.

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