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Joan Whitney Payson

Joan Whitney Payson (February 5, 1903 – October 4, 1975) was an American heiress, businesswoman, philanthropist, patron of the arts and art collector, and a member of the prominent Whitney family. She was a sports enthusiast who co-founded and was the majority owner of Major League Baseball's National League's New York Mets baseball Franchise along with George Herbert Walker, Jr.

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Joan Whitney Payson was a sports enthusiast who was a minority shareholder in the old New York Giants Major League Baseball club. She voted against transferring the team to San Francisco, California in 1957. After the majority of the shareholders approved the move, Ms. Payson sold her stock and began working to get a replacement team for New York City. In 1961, she was the co-founder and majority owner of the New York Mets and served as the team's president from 1968-1975 and vice president from '62-'65, and even as the first executive vice president from '66-'67. She was replaced by Johnny Murphy in that role when he was the GM starting from '68.

Active in the affairs of the baseball club, she was much admired by the team's personnel and players. She was inducted posthumously into the New York Mets Hall of Fame in 1981. She was also the first woman to buy majority control of a team in a major North American sports league, rather than inheriting it.

Payson was instrumental in the return of Willie Mays to New York City baseball in May 1972 by way of trade and cash from the San Francisco Giants.

After her death, her daughter Lorinda de Roulet took over and became the president of the Mets franchise. Payson replaced Bing Devine as president.

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New York Mets Owners

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Joan Whitney Payson * Charles Shipman Payson * George Herbert Walker, Jr. * Doubleday & Co. * Nelson Doubleday, Jr. & Fred Wilpon * Fred Wilpon/Sterling Equities

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Weiss * Devine * Payson * de Roulet * Wilpon * Katz