Angi: The saga of Marge Schott

From Cee Angi at The National Pastime Museum on August 21, 2016:

Chronicling the life of Marge Schott is difficult. One might be tempted to craft a tempered account of her 75 years—a glimpse through a soft lens—given that speaking ill of the dead is bad juju. That wouldn’t be completely wrong; just as broken clocks are right twice a day, it is rare to find figures who are pure evil, and Marge was no exception. She loved children and animals, and gave both her wealth and time to charity. But that version of Marge is hardly the full story. If you took a sheet of paper and created two columns, one for good and one for, if not evil, inappropriate, the latter column would run onto the back without much effort, the list growing longer with every racist comment, every suspension by Major League Baseball, each fraudulent business practice, and we haven’t even gotten to her expressed Nazi sympathies, or the way she ran her team with such tight-ass methodologies that, even when they were successful, her understaffed and underpaid front office remained resentful or disaffected. Marge Schott was a troubled woman who never learned the manners and rules under which the rest of society operates. And that, in business and in life, can be quite unnerving.


When Marge purchased a majority stake in the Cincinnati Reds in 1985, she became visible at the park in the team’s operations, fancying herself and her St. Bernard, Schottzie, as team mascots. There was little attempt to hide who she was, for hiding an elephant in a Winnebago would have been easier. She was at the park daily in bright red, blue-light special polyester pants and matching knit sweaters with the Reds logo, outfits more suitable for Bingo halls than boardrooms. Her matronly haircut framed a face prematurely aged by chain smoking cheap cigarettes and chugging even cheaper vodka. Her gravelly voice matched her look, emanating from a throat that sounded ever in need of a good, deep cough. In appearance, in intellect, in capital, in behavior, in gender, and even in baseball acumen, Marge was unlike most owners that baseball had ever seen. And players and managers tolerated her until they couldn’t. One commissioner, Faye Vincent, did his best to dissuade her antagonism, later saying she was one of the most tragic figures he’d ever encountered. Her front office staff loathed her so much they put her picture in the urinal for target practice.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 22, 2016. Last Updated: August 22, 2016.