Angi: The 1990 Reds, stumbling on to a World Series title

From Cee Angi at The National Pastime Museum on September 4, 2016:

Following their 1990 World Series victory on the road in Oakland, the Reds celebrated in the clubhouse. In a rare display of humanness, owner Marge Schott jumped gleefully with Manager Lou Piniella. But that was classic Marge—a flash of warmth to make one wonder if maybe everyone had been wrong—after which she refused to buy the team a celebratory meal. The Reds had won the championship, but they weren’t going to Disney World. The winningest ballplayers in the world were headed for Burger King.

In that era, the Reds and Schott had not yet become the punch line they would become, but those who paid attention knew they were unrefined and unsophisticated— baseball’s own Clampett family—when compared to their contemporaries. To some the burgers may seem excusable—attributable to an old lady who didn’t see the value in supplying 40 men with steak. But as was the way with Schott, when something small seemed forgivable, it was trumped by something that could not be absolved.

In the final game of the World Series, outfielder Eric Davis lacerated a kidney and had to have emergency surgery in Oakland. No one from the front office, not even Piniella, called to check on him. Once stabilized, the doctors agreed that Davis could return to Cincinnati for care in a local hospital, but to fly he would need a chartered plane in which he could stay in a hospital bed and have a team of doctors and nurses travel with him.

“The team will fly me back,” Davis told his doctors, assuming he’d be treated like royalty by the team and the city since he had been integral to their World Series victory. However, when he called to make arrangements, the team refused to pay for his return. They offered a litany of excuses, including that they didn’t know where to get a plane. Davis arranged a plane himself and sent the bill to Schott, which stirred up controversy once the media found out about it. In a press conference at the hospital in Cincinnati, Davis told the media, “If I were a dog, I would have gotten more care, and that’s the truth.”

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Originally published: September 6, 2016. Last Updated: September 6, 2016.