Publisher owned N.Y. Mets
NELSON DOUBLEDAY, 193 3-2015
Nelson Doubleday Jr., the publishing scion who bought the New York Mets and shepherded the team to a 1986 World Series title, has died. He was 81.
His son-in-law, John Havens, said Doubleday died of pneumonia at his home in Locust Valley, N.Y., on Wednesday.
Doubleday was born July 20, 1933, the grandson of Frank Nelson Doubleday, who founded the publishing company in 1897, and a descendant of Abner Doubleday, the supposed inventor of baseball.
After taking over the company from his father, Doubleday partnered with Fred Wilpon to become a majority owner of the last-place Mets in 1980.
Doubleday hired General Manager Frank Cashen, who was the architect of the team that beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games.
The 1986 series is most famously known for Bill Buckner’s pivotal error at first base. He let Mookie Wilson’s slow grounder go through his legs, and the Mets capped a twoout rally in the 10th inning of Game 6 with a 6-5 victory at Shea Stadium. The Mets went on to win Game 7.
“His life is to be celebrated. He was a wonderful man. He had a wonderful life,” former Mets star Keith Hernandez said of Doubleday on the team’s SNY broadcast Wednesday night.
Doubleday & Co. bought the Mets from the family of founding owner Joan Payson for $21.1 million, with the company owning 95% of the team; Wilpon owned the rest.
When Doubleday & Co. was sold in 1986, the publisher sold its shares of the team for $80.75 million to Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday, who became 50/50 owners.
Wilpon bought out Doubleday in 2002 in an acrimonious split. They had fought over the valuation of the team.
Wilpon and his family bought Doubleday’s 50% after the team was appraised at $391 million. Last spring, Forbes estimated the Mets were worth $858 million, third in baseball behind the New York Yankees ($1.6 billion) and the Boston Red Sox ($870 million).
The Mets released a statement saying, “Nelson had a love of baseball and the Mets” and they were saddened to hear the news of his death.
“It’s a big loss for Keith and I,” said former pitcher Ron Darling, who is also a Mets broadcaster. “A guy that we looked up to.”
MAJORITY OWNER Nelson Doubleday, left, with Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in
1984, led the team to a World Series title two years later.