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Final ‘Schott’ fired at Reds

The Associated Press

Marge Schott’s rocky 15-year reign as owner of the Cincinnati Reds ended Wednesday when baseball approved the $67 million sale of her controlling interest to her limited partners.

Thursday, September 16, 1999

Marge Schott’s rocky 15-year reign as owner of the Cincinnati Reds ended Wednesday when baseball approved the $67 million sale of her controlling interest to her limited partners.

National League president Len Coleman, the top minority official in the game, announced his resignation immediately after owners voted to merge the administrative operations of the American and National leagues.

And in developments that caused disappointment and anger, owners put off the proposed sales of the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, citing the uncertain futures of baseball’s small-market teams.

Schott, who repeatedly has infuriated baseball with inflammatory statements about minorities and women, will be replaced as the Reds’ controlling owner by Carl Lindner, who owns the Great American Insurance Co.

The deal, in which 36.7 percent of the team’s shares change hands, values the franchise at $181.8 million.

Schott couldn’t be reached for comment, and Lindner, who attended the meeting, referred comment to John Allen, the team’s managing executive since Schott agreed in June 1996 to give up day-to-day control of the team.

”It’s the end of a historic chapter in our organization,” Allen said. ”It’s the start of the next chapter.”

Owners also unanimously approved a resolution calling on their lawyers to redraft the Major League Agreement, which governs baseball, to merge the AL and NL in all areas but on the field, where the leagues and divisions will remain unchanged for now.

Coleman, saying his job would become irrelevant with the change, said he will quit after the World Series and will become a senior adviser to commissioner Bud Selig.

”Baseball took a very historical step that it had to do,” Selig said. ”It is imperative that we conduct ourselves as a single entity.”

The owners voted 28-2 to table the $122.4 million sale of the A’s to a group headed by Save Mart Foods chairman Bob Piccinini, and 29-1 to table the $75 million sale of the Royals to a group headed by Miles Prentice.

Only Oakland and the Chicago Cubs voted against the motion to table the A’s sale. The Royals were the only vote against tabling their deal.

Piccinini’s agreement to buy the team from Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann expires if it doesn’t close by Monday, and his group seemed stunned.

”As far as I’m concerned, we’re out of it,” Piccinini said. ”Unless the present owners put an extension on it, we’re dead meat.”