Nelson Doubleday Jr.

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Nelson Doubleday Jr. (July 20, 1933 – June 17, 2015) was the owner next-to-last President and CEO of Doubleday and Company (1978-1985, succeeded by James R. McLaughlin, 1985-1986)[1][2] before its sale to Bertelsmann A.G. in 1986. He was instrumental in the company's purchase of the New York Mets in 1980.[3]

After selling Doubleday Publishing, he bought a 50 percent stake in the New York Mets in his own name, with team president Fred Wilpon buying the remaining 50 percent. Doubleday remained Chairman of the Board of the Mets, a post which he had held since 1980. Doubleday sold his interest in the New York Mets to Wilpon and Wilpon's family, in an acrimonious transaction in 2002 that saw a dispute over the team's value.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

He was the son of Ellen McCarter and Nelson Doubleday, and had a younger sister Neltje. Their father owned Doubleday Publishing, which was founded by Nelson Sr.'s father Frank N. Doubleday. Their paternal grandmother Neltje Blanchan De Greff published books on gardens and birds.

Doubleday was born July 20, 1933 in Oyster Bay, Long Island [5] and grew up there and in South Carolina. He attended the Green Vale School in Glen Head, then the Eaglebrook School and Deerfield Academy, both in Deerfield, Massachusetts. After Deerfield, Doubleday attended Princeton, where he earned a degree in economics, and played baseball, football and hockey. Upon his graduation in 1955, Doubleday served in the United States Air Force and was stationed at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.[6]


Growing up as the son and grandson of owners of a major book publishing house, Nelson Doubleday Jr. was determined to join the family business. Entering Doubleday as a young man, he learned the business by progressing through a variety of positions.

He became President of Doubleday in 1978. In 1980, he was instrumental in the company's decision to buy the New York Mets baseball team from the Payson family, as well as to expand into television and film production. Doubleday became Chairman of the Mets Board of Directors, a post he retained during the team's rise to the 1986 World Series title.

In 1986, Doubleday sold the publishing company to Bertelsmann AG for a reported $475 million.[7] He and Wilpon then bought the New York Mets from Doubleday Publishing for more than $80 million.[8] In 2002, Doubleday sold his stake in the Mets to Wilpon.[9]

Personal life[edit]

He married Florence McKim, the daughter of Lillian Bostwick Phipps and Ogden Phipps. By 1972 they had divorced.[10]

In 1973, he married Sandra Pine Barnett (nicknamed Sandy). [11]

He had 5 daughters and 1 son. Doubleday died of pneumonia at his Locust Valley, New York home on June 17, 2015, aged 81.[6]


  1. ^ New Doubleday President, New York Times
  2. ^ Bertelsmann Acquires Doubleday, Journal of Commerce
  3. ^ Associated Press (1980-01-24). "Doubleday to invest in Mets". The Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  4. ^ "Nelson Doubleday Jr, Publishing Executive and Mets Owner, Dies at 81", "The Washington Post," 18 June 2015, accessed 10 April 2017
  5. ^ "Nelson Doubleday Jr, Publishing Executive and Mets Owner, Dies at 81", "The Washington Post," 18 June 2015, accessed 10 April 2017
  6. ^ a b Grimes, William (June 17, 2015). "Nelson Doubleday Jr., Publisher and Mets Buyer, Dies at 81". New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  7. ^ Associated Press (1986-09-28). "West German-based firm buys Doubleday and Co". Tri City Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  8. ^ Associated Press (1986-11-14). "Mets in same hands after sale". The Rock Hill Herald. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  9. ^ Sandomir, Richard (2002-08-14). "Baseball; Owners Of Mets Make A Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  10. ^ Marylin Bender, "The Story Behind Family and Firm Reads Like a Novel", The Palm Beach Post, 31 December 1972, accessed 19 April 2012
  11. ^ "Nelson Doubleday Jr, Publishing Executive and Mets Owner, Dies at 81", "The Washington Post," 18 June 2015, accessed 10 April 2017