March 2, 2004 by

Marge Schott


Categories: Business, Sports

Margaret Unnewehr Schott, the former Cincinnati Reds owner who was suspended by Major League Baseball for making racial slurs, died on March 2. Cause of death was not released. She was 75.
The Cincinnati native was a lumber heiress who graduated from the Sacred Heart Academy and married wealthy industrialist Charles J. Schott in 1952. When her husband died in 1968, she inherited Schottco Corp., a holding company that included Chevrolet and Buick dealerships and interests in insurance, brick manufacturing, concrete products and landfills. Schott was the first woman to own a GM dealership in a major metro area.
She purchased shares in the Reds in 1981, and took control of the team as its general partner three years later. Schott ran the oldest professional baseball team for 15 years, and was often seen on the field with her St. Bernard, Schottzie, talking with players and fans. President Ronald Reagan honored her and 84 other female entrepreneurs with a White House reception in 1986. And the city embraced her when the Reds won the World Series in 1990.
But her tenure ended in controversy. In 1992, several former Reds executives complained that Schott used racial and ethnic slurs in referring to players and business associates. In an interview with The New York Times, she said “[Adolf] Hitler was good in the beginning, but he went too far.” A Sports Illustrated magazine article published offensive statements she made about a Japanese government official, Asian-Americans, working women and Jews. A Cincinnati Enquirer article quoted her saying she doesn’t want Reds players to wear earrings because “only fruits wear earrings.” When umpire John McSherry collapsed and died on the field during the 1996 Opening Day game, Schott expressed her disappointment in the game’s postponement by saying: “I feel cheated. This isn’t supposed to happen to us, not in Cincinnati. This is our history, our tradition, our team.”
Although she later apologized for her comments, saying, “I don’t always express myself well,” Schott was suspended from day-to-day oversight of the Reds for the 1993 season and fined $25,000. After she made a similar comment about Hitler in 1996, Schott was forced to relinquish her daily control of the Reds again. That same year, General Motors Corp. filed a complaint with the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board, accusing her of hiding cars at her estate and falsifying 57 auto sales in order to meet quotas at her Chevrolet-Geo dealership. She sold the car franchise in 1997, and sold most of her stake in the Reds to current owners Carl Lindner, William Reik and George Strike for $67 million in 1999.
Schott also had a philanthropic side. She sponsored the Reds Rally, an annual dinner auction with Reds players that raised more than $1 million for the Children’s Heart Association. She donated millions more to the Cincinnati Zoo and the Warren County Humane Association, and loaned her name to a school building at St. Ursula Academy, a lake on the Dan Beard Scout Reservation, a Boys & Girls Club and a pavilion at the Milford Spiritual Retreat.
The Reds plan to honor her memory at its home opener on April 5.
Complete Coverage from The Cincinnati Enquirer

7 Responses to Marge Schott

  1. Bryan

    She doesn’t even deserve to be on this website. I feel happy knowing that Marge Schott (Racist) is burning in hell right now

  2. Lu

    Marge was a product of her times, upbringing, and geography. Alas, she was too stupid to keep her mouth shut.
    Male baseball team owers have said and done a lot worse in public, but were not forced to sell their teams.

  3. Curt

    Why can’t anyone express their minds in this stupid liberal society? You can all go ahead and call Marge a racist or realize that she has enough conviction to actually say what she believes.

  4. Bill

    I was very proud to have known Mrs. Schott. I was no where compared to where she was financialy,but that didn’t matter to her. She always had a kind greeting. Rest in Peace ( HONEY )

  5. J. S. Harley

    Marge was not afraid to speak her mind. I can only respect that trait in her. Hopefully, she offended all those who are offended by a differing opinion.

  6. Harold

    She was a person,not unlike all of us,who has had many experiences;however,it is important to view her actions,not just a rare utterance which was more often misinterpreted for someone elses own agenda and at the cost of hurting unintended others.Her actions in life visitng with the sick,helping underprivileged of all creeds and races,and generous use of her time and money were not only a fabric thru her daily life ,but also how she generously gave back in her death thru her family foundation.Rest in peace.Harold

  7. Dirk

    She was a lil differant but she always had ever one else intrests in her heart…paulett was a great help for her and should be thanked
    i will and do continue to miss her every day..

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