Charles Shipman Payson

Charles Shipman Payson (October 16, 1898 – May 5, 1985, aged 86) was the owner of the New York Mets of the National League from 1975 through 1980. In 1975, he inherited the club upon the death of his wife, Mets founder Joan Whitney.

Early life

Payson was born on October 16, 1898 in Maine. He was the son of Herbert Payson and Sally Carroll Brown, grandson of Gen. John Marshall Brown, and a descendant of Edward Payson, who settled in Massachusetts in 1635.[1] His sister was Anne Payson, who was married to Benjamin D. Holt, son of Benjamin Holt, was murdered by burglars in her home in Maine in 1976.[2]

He was a graduate of the Salisbury School in Connecticut, Yale University and Harvard Law and became a prominent lawyer and businessman in New York City.


Payson inherited the Mets after the death of his first wife in 1975. Payson did not share his wife's enthusiasm for the Mets. He delegated his authority to his three daughters, with their youngest, Lorinda de Roulet, becoming team president. His daughters in turn left the baseball side to board chairman M. Donald Grant. But when it became apparent that Grant had mismanaged the team, it was Payson himself who forced Grant out.

In 1980, he sold the franchise to Doubleday & Co.[3]

Personal life

In 1924, he married Joan Whitney (1903–1975), the daughter of Payne Whitney and Helen Julia Hay.[4] Her brother was John Hay Whitney. She inherited a trust fund from her grandfather, William C. Whitney and on her father's death in 1927, she received a large part of the family fortune.[5] The couple lived in a 1928 home designed by William Delano, on a 110 acres in Manhasset, New York, given to them by her parents as a wedding gift.[6] Together, they had:

In 1977, he married Virginia Kraft, a writer for Sports Illustrated. She was the daughter of George John Kraft and was a graduate of Barnard College.[1] They remained married until his death.[16]


With his first wife, he funded the building of Pepperdine University's library. In 1977, he donated 17 paintings by Winslow Homer, worth $6.4 million, to the Portland Museum of Art.[16]

External links


  1. 1 2 Times, Special To The New York (29 December 1977). "Charles Payson Weds Miss Kraft". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. Times, Special To The New York (7 October 1976). "Financier's Sister Is Killed in Maine". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  3. Grimes, William (17 June 2015). "Nelson Doubleday Jr., Publisher Who Owned the Mets, Dies at 81". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  4. "MISS JOAN WHITNEY WED TO C. S. PAYSON | Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Payne Whitney Becomes Bride in Manhasset Church.". The New York Times. 6 July 1924. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  6. Reif, Rita (27 April 1984). "The Paysons' home on view". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  7. "PAYSON, Daniel C". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  8. Durso, Joseph (5 October 1975). "Joan Whitney Payson, 72, Mets Owner, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  9. Saxon, Wolfgang (25 July 2004). "Sandra Payson, 78, Influential Arts Patron". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  10. "Daughter Born to Mrs. C. S. Payson.". The New York Times. 29 June 1926. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  11. "British Publisher And Mrs. Meyer Will Be Married; George Weidenfeld to Wed Niece of John Hay Whitney". The New York Times. July 14, 1966. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  12. "A Daughter to Mrs. C. S. Payson.". The New York Times. 6 August 1927. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  13. "Paid Notice: Deaths MIDDLETON, HENRY BENTIVOGLIO". The New York Times. 18 August 2002. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  14. "ORCA - Ocean Research and Conservation Association - Team & Staff". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  15. Span, Paula; Tully, Judd (12 November 1987). "$53.9 MILLION FOR VAN GOGH". The Washington Post. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  16. 1 2 "CHARLES PAYSON, 86; WEALTHY SPORTSMAN AND PHILANTHROPIST". The New York Times. 7 May 1985. Retrieved 1 December 2016.

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