The 6’2″ Michael was dubbed Stick for his long, lean look. As a Kent State basketball star, he was coveted by several NBA teams, but chose to play baseball. After a season each with the Pirates and Dodgers, he found a home with the Yankees in 1968. Eager to please, he even pitched that year, hurling three shutout innings. A notoriously poor hitter, he remained the everyday Yankee shortstop for five years because of his smooth glovework and heads-up play; he became noted for pulling off the hidden-ball trick.
Michael became a minor league manager, a coach, and a GM for the Yankees. He was soon caught in the revolving door of Yankee skippers. Though he led the team to a first-half title in the 1981 split season, George Steinbrenner replaced him with Bob Lemon on September 6. Michael replaced Lemon the next April, registered a 44-42 record, and was fired in August.
In June 1986, Cub GM Dallas Green chose Michael as manager. In his first game, Michael was automatically ejected when his pitcher, after being warned, threw too close to a batter. By the end of the season, Green was openly criticizing Michael for not being tough enough. Late in 1987, Michael told a reporter he was not returning in 1988; he soon resigned before he could be fired.