I just got back from the Mets game. Cliff Lee threw eight innings of one run ball before handing it off to Jonathan Papelbon for a Phillies save. The worst news of the night was not the Mets loss but that young phenom Matt Harvey is done for the year, and maybe next year, with a tear in his pitching elbow. One hates to see that with any player, let alone a twenty-four-year old.

Joan Whitney Payson plaque, Mets Hall of Fame

Joan Whitney Payson plaque, Mets Hall of Fame

Here is a trivia question sure to stump them around the water cooler:

What do Abraham Lincoln and the New York Mets have in common?

The answer is Joan Whitney Payson, the team’s co-founder and original owner. Payson was the daughter of Helen Julia Hay, which makes her the granddaughter of Lincoln’s personal secretary John Hay. Joan’s mother, Helen, married into the Whitney family at the turn of the twentieth century, bringing together two of the leading families of the era. Our tendency is to think these people lived in a far distant time, but Payson did not pass on until 1975. Her and her husbands personal effects were auctioned in 1984.

I had seen her plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame before, but had not known who she was until reading John Taliaferro’s All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay, from Lincoln to Roosevelt earlier this summer. Of course I had to have a friend snap the photo above prior to tonight’s game.