top of page
  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Payson, Charles S. (1979)

Payson, Charles S. (79)

Charles Shipman Payson , a lawyer and businessman who was a native of Maine and a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. In 1924 he married

Joan Whitney Payson (February 5, 1903 – October 4, 1975) an American heiress, businesswoman, philanthropist, patron of the arts and art collector, and a member of the prominent Whitney family. She was also co-founder and majority owner of Major League Baseball's New York Mets baseball franchise, and was the first woman to own a major-league team in North America without inheriting it.

Joan Whitney was born in New York City, the daughter of Payne Whitney and Helen Julia Hay. 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. She attended Miss Chapin's School, then studied at Barnard College for a year, as well as taking some courses at Brown.[2]

New York Mets

Joan was a sports enthusiast who was a minority shareholder in the old New York Giants Major League Baseball club. She and her husband opposed moving the team to San Francisco in 1957. After the majority of the shareholders approved the move, Mrs. Payson sold her stock and began working to get a replacement team for New York City. Along with M. Donald Grant, the only other director who opposed the Giants' move, Payson put together a group that won a New York franchise in the Continental League, a proposed third major league. The National League responded by awarding an expansion team to Payson's group, which became the New York Mets."Why did you do it?" someone asked Mrs. Payson.

"Because I'm a fan," she replied simply, "and I can't bear to see New York without a National League team."

Payson served as the team's president from 1962–1975. 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 also instrumental in the return of Willie Mays to New York City baseball in May 1972 by way of trade and cash from the Giants.

Payson inherited the Mets after the death of Joan in 1975 and 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. He sold the franchise to Doubleday & Co. in 1980

The Charles Shipman Payson Building is the most recent expansion of the Portland Museum of Art (PMA) in Portland, Maine, located on the corner of High Street and Congress Square. Henry N. Cobb (of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) designed the Payson Building, which opened in 1983, after Mr. Payson donated their collection of 17 Winslow Homer paintings and ten million dollars to the museum . Similar in theme to these Homer paintings, the Payson building contains a collection of contemporary paintings and short-term exhibitions created by Maine artists, focusing on regional themes.

9 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page