It’s about time
Former Reds owner Marge Schott is one of the most virulent racists in baseball history—and that’s a tough competition.
The four-word headline on a 1996 Associated Press article really says it all: “Schott Praises Hitler Again.”
The “Controversies” section of her Wikipedia page is over 1,000 words long, detailing her history of disparaging remarks against all sorts of people. Read Rick Reilly’s 1996 Sports Illustrated story and you’ll run out of fingers and toes trying to count all the remarks that would get a person banished from the game today.
Her anti-semitism and frequent use of the N-word and other racial slurs while addressing team employees got her banned from day-to-day operations of the Reds in 1993 for one year. In 1996, after an ESPN interview that inspired the above AP headline, Schott was banned by baseball through the 1998 season. She sold the team in 1999 and died in 2004.
So why is the baseball stadium at the University of Cincinnati still named in Schott’s honor?
In 2006, Schott’s charitable foundation made a $2 million donation the Bearcats’ athletic department, which led the school to name its new baseball stadium after her. Now, current and former UC players are petitioning for Schott’s name to be removed from the ballpark.
Redshirt sophomore outfielder Jordan Ramey, a Cincinnati native, started a Change.org petition to change the stadium’s name.
“We have a responsibility to develop our kids for the future,” Ramey wrote in the petition. “Black kids should not be made to play and represent a name such as hers and white kids should not be celebrating her legacy subconsciously.”
Senior pitcher Nathan Moore echoed the calls to strip Schott’s name from the park.
“I simply cannot understand why our great University would not address the removal of this hurtful and offensive commemoration of racism,” he wrote on Twitter.
Former Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis, the most successful major leaguer to be drafted out of the Cincinnati program, also joined the call to stop honoring Schott.
Youkilis said that he had been approached by the school “many years ago” to make a donation to the baseball program that would result in the stadium being renamed “Kevin Youkilis Field at Marge Schott Stadium.” Youkilis, who is Jewish, declined.
Youkilis recalled his father telling him, “Kevin that is a tremendous honor that they would think of doing this. The only problem is that our family name will never coexist with that other individual. I will never let our family name be next to someone that was filled with such hatred of our Jewish community.”
Removing Schott’s name from the stadium is a no brainer. She’s been dead for 16 years and has no surviving immediate family. There’s no one around to get mad when the school finally decides to strip her name off the building. Naming it after Youkilis is the obvious choice, and not just because it means you could shave a goatee into the infield grass.
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