Nelson Doubleday Jr.
New York Mets
NEW YORK METS: Nelson Doubleday Jr. Helped Restore New York City's National League Baseball Crown.
One of the very few, and very best owners of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club passed away at his home in N.Y. Wednesday at age 81 of pneumonia.
Nelson Doubleday used his family's publishing empire to form Doubleday and Company with the purpose of purchasing the Mets from the late Mrs. Joan Payson's estate. Nelson put up 80% of the $21.1 million to purchase the Mets.
He was a hands-off type, but his presence resonated throughout the organization.
The club enjoyed their greatest prosperity while Mr. Doubleday presided. He took over a perennially last place club in 1980, and hired Frank Cashen as general manager whom turned them into a 90-win club by the 1984 season.
By 1986 the Mets were World Series champions, and in 1988 won their second division title in three years. They returned to the playoffs in 1999, and won the National League championship in 2000.
His relationship with Fred Wilpon grew to a 50/50 partnership, then deteriorated, and ultimately dissolved by the end of 2002. After 22-years as co-owner of the Mets, Nelson Doubleday sold his half share in the team to his former partner.
Nelson Doubleday was instrumental in initially acquiring catcher Mike Piazza, then retaining him with a strong financial commitment. Doubleday was also in favor of renovating Shea Stadium over Fred Wilpon's preference to build Citi Field.
I personally started my teenage years in 1980, and so Nelson Doubleday was somewhat of a savior. The team was obviously mired in a very bad condition, and quite incapable of reorganizing after the passing away of Mrs. Joan Payson.
Under Nelson Doubleday, National League baseball once again ruled New York City.