Former Yankees executive Mark Newman, who helped build the Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s, has died at age 71, the team announced on Saturday.
The Yankees held a moment of silence for Newman before Saturday’s game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
The New York Post reported that Newman died on Saturday, but the team did not confirm that or state the cause of death in a news release.
Newman worked for the Yankees from 1989 to 2014. He was the club’s vice president of player development and scouting from 1997-99 and the senior vice president of baseball operations from 2000 until his retirement.
Newman is credited with being a leader of the Tampa, Florida-based executive team that revitalized the Yankees’ minor-league system after years of neglect under George Steinbrenner. Newman oversaw a system that brought the Core Four of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada and others to Yankee Stadium for the franchise’s World Series-winning spree from 1996-2000 (excluding 1997) and again in 2009.
"You can’t reflect on the championships and postseason appearances during Mark’s time without recognizing how much he meant to the organization," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He had a great baseball acumen, but also an uncanny ability to cultivate incredible loyalty and work ethic from the players he worked with, which was especially notable among our Latin players, whom he treated with a special care and respect. Countless players, even after achieving success in the majors, would always go back to him for advice. Mark also had a tremendous influence on our coaches at every level and built a distinguished coaching tree in the process. Through his direction, our coaches were able to bring out the best in our talent and become the best baseball teachers they could be."
Said Brett Gardner, the longest-tenured current Yankees player: "One of the things I remember most about Mark was how much he loved his players. He was very passionate about all the guys in the minor-league system, and he treated everybody the same. I remember how hard he was on me, and I remember how hard he was on all of us. But I also remember it coming from a good place, and it coming from a place of wanting to make us not just better players but better people as well."
Newman was the baseball coach at Old Dominion University for nine seasons before joining the Yankees’ front office. He is credited with creating a 500-page "Yankee System Development Manual" to guide the organization’s coaches and managers and eventually became one of Cashman’s key lieutenants.