Key Events in Marge Schott’s Tenure as Owner of Cincinnati Reds
Key events during Marge Schott’s tenure as owner of the Cincinnati Reds:
Feb. 17 _ Schott becomes a limited partner in the Reds.
Dec. 21 _ Schott becomes general partner of Reds’ ownership group.
July 8 _ Schott becomes president and chief executive officer.
Aug. 23 _ Team controller Tim Sabo is fired.
Oct. 9 _ Sabo sues Schott in Hamilton County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court, claiming he was fired because he opposed her alleged policy of not hiring blacks, and because he testified against her in a lawsuit filed against Schott by several of the Reds’ limited partners.
Dec. 6 _ Schott countersues, denying charges of racism and claiming Sabo wrote himself $6,894 in unauthorized checks and negligently paid $52,571 for health insurance premiums to retired front-office employees. Schott also asks for $25,000 in damages for defamation.
Nov. 13 _ Former marketing director Charles Levy says in a deposition in Sabo’s suit that Schott called former Reds outfielders Eric Davis and Dave Parker ``million-dollar niggers″ and kept a swastika arm band at home. Roger Blaemire, the former vice president of business operations, testifies in a deposition that he also heard Schott make racial remarks. The next day, Schott issues a statement saying: ``I am not a racist.″
Nov. 20 _ Schott issues a statement, saying her use of the word ``nigger″ and her possession of a swastika arm band weren’t meant to offend.
Nov. 23 _ Schott meets in Cincinnati with National League president Bill White.
Nov. 24 _ Sharon Jones, a former Oakland Athletics executive assistant, is quoted in The New York Times as saying Schott said on the telephone before the start of an owners’ conference call: ``I would never hire another nigger. I’d rather have a trained monkey working for me than a nigger.″
Nov. 29 _ Schott is quoted in The New York Times as saying Adolf Hitler initially was good for Germany, that her references to ``niggers″ were in jest and that she doesn’t understand why the word ``Japs″ is offensive.
Dec. 1 _ The ruling executive council appoints a four-person comittee to investigate Schott: White, American League president Bobby Brown, Pittsburgh Pirates director Douglas Danforth and California Angels executive vice president Jackie Autry.
Dec. 9 _ Schott, appearing at the winter meetings, issues an apology, acknowledging she made ``insensitive″ remarks. She retains Robert Bennett as her lawyer.
Jan. 22 _ Schott appears before the executive council at Grapevine, Texas.
Feb. 3 _ Schott is suspended for one year, fined $25,000 for language the executive council judged ``racially and ethnically offensive.″
April 3 _ The Reds open the season with Schott back running the team.
May 18 _ The Cincinnati Enquirer quotes Schott as saying she doesn’t want her players to wear earrings, because ``only fruits wear earrings.″
June 2 _ Schott is cleared of wrongdoing by a jury in Sabo’s wrongful firing lawsuit. Sabo’s deposition in his suit alleged Schott commonly used ethnic and racial slurs.
April 1 _ After umpire John McSherry’s death on the field in the first inning forces the postponement of the Reds season-opener, Schott, who wanted the game to continue, says, ``I feel cheated. This isn’t supposed to happen to us, not in Cincinnati. This is our history, our tradition, our team.″
April 12 _ Out-of-town scores return to Riverfront Stadium after Schott had earlier canceled the $350 per month score-reporting service in a cost-cutting measure.
April 14 _ Claiming the media ``stirs all this stuff up,″ Schott approaches umpire Harry Wendelstadt on the field before a game to apologize for her comments regarding McSherry’s death. She is rebuffed when Wendelstadt turns away and walks toward the outfield.
April 28 _ The Dayton Daily News reports that the flowers sent by Schott to the umpires the day after McSherry’s death were originally given to her by the team’s television affiliate.
May 5 _ In an ESPN interview, Schott praises the start of Hitler’s rule. ``Everything you read, when he came in he was good,″ she said. ``They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going. He went nuts, he went berserk. I think his own generals tried to kill him, didn’t they. Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.″
May 7 _ Schott releases an apology. Acting commissioner Bud Selig praises the apology but says baseball will continue to monitor the situation.
May 14 _ Sports Illustrated quotes Schott speaking in ``a cartoonish Japanese accent″ in recounting her meeting with Japanese prime minister Kiichi Miyazawa. Also in the article, in reference to seeing high school-aged Asian-Americans, she says, ``I don’t like it when they come here, honey, and stay so long and then outdo our kids. That’s not right.″
June 6 _ Baseball’s executive council gives Schott an ultimatum: give up day-to-day operation of the Cincinnati Reds within a week or face a suspension of more than one year.
June 12 _ Schott agrees to give up day-to-day operation of the Reds through the 1998 season.