clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

This Date in Mets History: November 19 - Mets Hit the Auction Block

Don't get too excited. The above headline refers to November 19, 1979.

Sell the team...Eddie?
Sell the team...Eddie?
Al Bello / Getty Images

A scenario that would surely warm the cockles of many a Mets fan were it to unfold today, on November 19, 1979, the team's board of directors announced its intention to sell the club before the start of the 1980 season. Rumors that the Mets might be on the auction block started the previous year after the board ousted M. Donald Grant, chairman of said board since the team's founding. At the time, Mets majority owner Lorinda de Roulet dismissed any talk of her family as mere speculation, but perhaps the stress of the team's third consecutive last place finish caused her to change her mind. Whatever the reason, the board's announcement marked the first time in franchise history that the team would change hands (de Roulet had inherited the team after the death of her mother, Mets' original owner Joan Whitney Payson).

Early candidates to buy New York's National League team included Gulf and Western (the entertainment conglomerate that owned Madison Square Garden and Paramount Pictures), M. Donald Grant (the exiled board chairman), and most intriguingly, a group of investors led by the recently retired Ed Kranepool. Ultimately, the board chose turned down Steady Eddie and the rest, choosing instead to accept a bid from fictional baseball founder Abner Doubleday's great-great-grandnephew Nelson and Sandy Koufax's high school teammate Fred Wilpon.

Birthdays
No Mets or people directly affiliated with the team have been born on November 19. Perhaps the most notable person to call today his birthday is President James Garfield. In 1856, our 20th chief executive graduated from Williams College, exactly 132 years prior to the matriculation of former GM Jim Duquette. The two men are related by more than an alma mater, too. They both had incredibly short tenures in office.

Amazin'-ly Tenuous Connection
If the above wasn't tenuous enough for you, try this on for size. Today marks the 149th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's consecration of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during which the Great Emancipator delivered perhaps the greatest and most well-known speech in American history. While the Mets celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2012 (despite it actually being their 51st season), if the team wants to honor itself four score and seven years after its founding, they'll have to wait until 2049. They should probably do something to celebrate R.A. Dickey's 40th season with the team that year, too.