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.
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 home-stand at Riverfront Stadium. She called me Honey. It was her favorite word. She called everybody Honey.