Sunday, March 7, 2004

Players show up to honor 'a good woman'

By John Erardi
The Cincinnati Enquirer

They all turned out to hail 'a great lady'
And a red-tailed hawk circled high over her gravesite
Players show up to honor 'a good woman'
Bronson: Marge reflected best and worst of Cincinnati
Radel: Cincinnati can learn a lot listening to Marge Schott

Homily for Marge Schott
Funeral photo gallery
Memorial Section

There wasn't a huge turnout of former and present baseball players for Marge Schott's funeral Saturday.

But the ones who showed up were among the ones Marge Schott adored most, which is what mattered.

Her favorite, Pete Rose, was there. So was Rose's Big Red Machine teammate, Johnny Bench, arguably the greatest Reds player.

And native son Barry Larkin, whose mother, Shirley, had set the tone many years ago on Marge, urging people to look into Marge's heart - that is, her actions - before judging her on her words.

Also on hand was Hal Morris, all the way from Stanford Business School in California, with wife Megan, another of Marge's favorites. And Ted Power, who as a first-day Red in 1983 had helped Marge's St. Bernard, Schottzie, out of a tough spot, before Power even knew Marge had a dog.

And 89-year-old former Negro Leaguer Tom Turner, who drove his station wagon all the way from Georgetown, Ohio, Saturday morning to pay his respects. He carried in a basket of red roses for her.

"They (Baseball) gave her a dirty deal when they took the team away from her - all over a few words," Turner said. "She was a woman in a man's business, a minority. She was good for the Reds, good for the city. But they looked past all that. They did her wrong. She was a good woman, and that's why I'm here."

Power recalled that just after he'd been traded to the Reds from the Los Angeles Dodgers, he attended a party at Schott's house. He saw a St. Bernard who'd gotten wrapped in his own chain. Figuring it was some player's dog, Power got the dog untangled, walked her to a shade tree in the back yard and gave her a bowl of water.

"Who is that guy?" asked Schott, who was watching from inside her house. A Reds official told her "it's the new guy we got from the Dodgers - Ted Power."

"I could do no wrong after that," said Power, smiling. "Later, Marge even nixed a trade that the Reds and Yankees had worked out for me. I was No.1 on the Yankees' list. Marge told (then-general manager) Bill Bergesch, 'You can't trade him. He just built a house here.' So Bergesch traded Bill Gullickson instead!"

Power never forgot it. He not only attended the funeral Mass Saturday, he also was among the early arrivals for the visitation and attended the burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery.

Said Bench: "Marge felt like baseball belonged in Cincinnati, and in her heart she felt she was saving baseball for Cincinnati. She loved baseball; whatever it took to win, she wanted to be part of it. She wanted to bring Cincinnati another championship. Few people can say they did that.

"People have called me this past week and wanted to talk about the good and the bad. I said, 'You know what? It's really the actions that speak louder than the words.' Look at the soul of the person, and the good deeds she did for Cincinnati. Not very many people can stand with her on that."

Bronson: Marge reflected best and worst of Cincinnati
Homily for Marge Schott
They all turned out to hail 'a great lady'
And a red-tailed hawk circled high over her gravesite
Players show up to honor 'a good woman'
Radel: Cincinnati can learn a lot listening to Marge Schott

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