Marge Schott, majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds since 1984, has told major league baseball that she will sell her controlling share of the team to end her tenure as general partner, it was announced Friday.
The June 12, 1996, agreement by which John Allen was appointed the Reds' managing executive will be extended from Oct. 31 of this year through Dec. 31 or until Schott sells her partnership shares, whichever occurs first, baseball commissioner Bud Selig said.
Baseball officials had been considering extending Schott's 2 1/2-year suspension -- for making inflammatory remarks about minorities -- from day-to-day operation of the Reds. Allen had been running the team during Schott's suspension.
Schott has been general partner of the Reds under an ownership agreement that continues through the end of 2000. Limited partners of the Reds will now have an opportunity to buy her shares and take control of the ballclub, which is hoping to move into a new, taxpayer-financed stadium in Cincinnati by 2003.
"I respect Mrs. Schott's decision and will do everything I can to ensure a dignified and orderly transition," Selig said.
Schott did not return a telephone call to her office Friday afternoon. There was no answer at her home telephone.
The Reds had nothing to add to Selig's statement, team spokesman Rob Butcher said. Allen declined comment, through Butcher.
"It's between major league baseball and Mrs. Schott," Butcher said.
Operating under one of the tightest budgets in baseball, the Reds went 77-85 this year, finishing 25 games behind division winner Houston and 12 games out of a wild-card spot.
Cincinnati endured a season in which it traded Dave Burba just 24 hours before his Opening Day start and saw captain and veteran Barry Larkin demand a trade shortly thereafter.
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