Cee Angi is a freelance baseball writer. Her past work can be found in a variety of publications including Baseball Prospectus, SB Nation, Fox Sports, Deadspin, 670 the Score, The Classical and more. Cee is also the proprietor of Baseball-prose.net, a memoir site that provides an uncommon narrative on baseball.
I often wonder about how the majority of baseball fans would answer this hypothetical: Would you rather your team win a World Series, then miss the postseason for the bulk of the next 25 years, or watch a team that doesn’t win the World Series, but strings together multiple competitive seasons, even postseason appearances, without winning the title?
Following their 1990 World Series victory on the road in Oakland, the Reds celebrated in the clubhouse. In a rare display of humanness, owner Marge Schott jumped gleefully with Manager Lou Piniella. But that was classic Marge—a flash of warmth to make one wonder if maybe everyone had been wrong—after which she refused to buy the team a celebratory meal. The Reds had won the championship, but they weren’t going to Disney World. The winningest ballplayers in the world were headed for Burger King.
When the Reds won the World Series in 1990, it was a strange mix of accident and intention. In part I of this series, we discussed how Marge Schott both hindered and enabled the franchise through a combination of personal meanness and payroll largess. But the way the team architecture came together had little to do with her and more to do with circumstance.
In 1996, umpire John McSherry died of a heart attack after collapsing at home plate on Opening Day at Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium. The game was postponed, and understandably so. Yet, Reds owner Marge Schott complained how McSherry’s death (and the snow) put her out because the game had been a sellout. When her comments were not well received, she sent flowers to the umpires’ room to apologize and to express sympathy for their loss. However, it was later revealed that Schott hadn’t purchased the bouquet, but had regifted one that had been sent to her.