Former Mets owner Nelson Doubleday, Jr. died on Wednesday from pneumonia at age 81.
Doubleday and Fred Wilpon bought the Mets from original owner Joan Payson in 1980 for a then-record $21.1 million, with the Doubleday publishing company putting up 80% of the purchase price. They rebuilt the floundering franchise from top to bottom, culminating in the 1986 World Series champs.
When Doubleday sold the company in 1986, he and Wilpon bought the team for $85 million. Wilpon later bought out Doubleday in 2002 for $135 million amid a public feud over the value of the team.
Nelson Doubleday was a true behind-the-scenes owner, so we did not know that he was the driving force behind all of the spending the team did. We unfortunately learned that later when Wilpon was the sole owner.
In a statement, the Mets said:
“We were saddened to hear the news of the passing of Nelson Doubleday, Jr. Nelson had a love of baseball and the Mets. On behalf of everyone at the organization, we send our condolences and sympathies to his family.”