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"I Forgive Marge"

March 15, 2004
March 15, 2004

Table of Contents
March 15, 2004

High School Sports
  • Thanks to a selfless coach, the sons of Mexican migrants in a dirt-poor California town turned their backs on drugs and gangs and built an athletic dynasty. But what would they do without him?

"I Forgive Marge"

Edited by Mark Bechtel and Sridhar Pappu

Died Former Reds owner Marge Schott, 75. Schott held controlling
interest in the team from 1984 until '99, when Major League
Baseball forced her to give up everyday control after she made
offensive remarks--including calling outfielder Eric Davis one of
her "million dollar n-----s." Davis, who played for the Reds from
1984-91 and in '96, remembers the woman who mixed caring (she
donated millions to charity) with controversy.

This is an article from the March 15, 2004 issue Original Layout

I met Marge and her Saint Bernard, Schottzie, my rookie year. It
was the first time I'd ever seen a dog on a baseball field. But
that was her. She tried to make the team a family. She wanted the
fans involved. A lot of times she didn't express it that way, but
she truly cared.

On those teams there were black and white and Dominican players.
And she didn't go out of her way to degrade somebody because of
his race. After I was traded to the Dodgers and those comments
came out about me in 1992, I got a lot of calls from black
leaders about what I should do. But I took what she said with a
grain of salt.

When you drink, you speak your mind a lot and you get into
situations where the wrong people are listening. That's what got
her in trouble. But her comments live on because I still hear
them today when people ask me about Marge. It's unfortunate
because deep down inside she wasn't a bad person.

She brought me out of retirement and back to the Reds in 1996. I
played another five years for other teams, but every time I came
to Cincinnati, I had a conversation with Marge. I would call her
periodically just to say hello because we were friends. The last
time I saw her was in 2002, when the Reds played their last
homestand at Riverfront Stadium. She called me Honey. It was her
favorite word. She called everybody Honey.

COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES (SCHOTT COVER)COLOR PHOTO: MARK HALL/AP (SCHOTT & DAVIS) COME HERE, HONEY Davis forgave Schott, a 1996 SI cover subject,for her slurs.