M. Donald Grant
M. Donald Grant
Born: May 1, 1904
Died: November 28, 1998 at Hobe Sound, Fla.

M. Donald Grant was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on March 10, 2012, and May 1, 2015.

Non-playing roles with Mets
  • Chairman of the Board 1962 - 1978

Share your memories of M. Donald Grant


March 18, 2005
Don't get me started...

I'm happy as long as this man remains dead.

Jonathan Stern
March 21, 2005
The man was dead on in his predictions about the long-term effects of free agency on baseball and his decision to aggressively fight that trend was in some respects admirable. But did he really have to be that much of an ogre?

On his way out the Mets' door, he told the reporters, "You will come to my grave and look down at me, and say 'You were right.'" In light of what was written above, imagine Grant miraculously raised from the dead. Would you want to tell the man who fought free agency by destroying Tom Seaver that he was right?

March 26, 2005
While Grant certainly foresaw the worst in free agency, he also saw players as indentured servants, making him a dinosaur. And by refusing to adjust to the changing economics of baseball, he along with the DeRoulets turned the Mets into a barren wasteland in the late seventies with little relevance other than being other team's punching bags. Could you imagine how vilified he would be today if the ran the organization the same way?

original mets
May 25, 2005
There were many things, all bad that I recall about M. Donald Grant. One was that Mrs. Payson listened to him all the time re baseball decisions. Another thing was that whenever he spoke he always referred to "our fans", and "our fans" hated him. I will never forget the day a fan brought a placard in to Shea (around 1965) and it read "GRANTS TOMB"; of course the placard was destroyed. As far as I am concerned Mr. Grant, a Canadian I might mention, was responsible for the departure of 1) Whitey Herzog 2) Bing Devine because of his interference with baseball matters and of course 3) George Thomas Seaver because he was too cheap to pay him. When the De Roulets sold the team it was a great day day for the Mets because Grant was no longer in power.

July 5, 2005
I'll never forget M. Donald Grant. One can never forget a root canal either. The Mets of Grant made many of the worst moves ever. Among others - the Seaver and Dave Kingman trades; Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi; Amos Otis for Joe Foy; and using the first pick of the 1967 amateur draft to choose catcher Steve Chilcott instead of Reggie Jackson. Grant was a major league cheapskate, and when the Mets were sold in 1980, Met fans celebrated like they'd just won the World Series. R.I.P. Mr. Grant. Met fans won't miss you.

July 18, 2005
Josh, you are so right about Mr. Grant being like root canal and he was a huge cheapskate. However, just a few points, he didn't have anything to do with Nolan Ryan for Jim Fregosi. Ryan was inconsistant before he was traded, wild and not very dependable. He had a world of potential but then again so did Hank Webb. As for Joe Foy for Amos Otis, again he had nothing to do with it. That was the product of Gil Hodges who hated Otis (he wanted Amos to be an infielder). Also, Steve Chilcott was drafted ahead of Reggie was not the result of Grant, but more of a real (stupid) conservative thought process.

Gary Seven
August 15, 2005
While one of nine members of the New York Giants Board of Directors in 1957, M. Donald Grant was the only one to vote to keep the Giants in New York.

September 3, 2005
M. Donald Grant may have been the only NY Giants board member who voted (on behalf of Mrs. Payson) to keep the Giants in New York, but a lot of Mets fans may or may not have remembered is that in the late 1970s, he also spearheaded the vote to move the Mets to Washington, D.C. if New York was awarded the 1984 Olympics.

September 24, 2005
We'd have been better off with Mickey and Donald than with M. Donald. All those years of humiliation at the hands of Yankee fans, courtesy of M. Donald. To think that he put the expression "Met Family" in many a Mets yearbook makes me want to puke. A real victim of M. Donald's cheapness is Jerry Koosman, one of my favorites, who went out there and gave it 200+ innings for many years and ended up with some lousy W-L records thanks to no run support.

October 13, 2005
Love him or hate him, Grant was right when he said in 1979 that free agency would ruin baseball.

November 6, 2005
This man was not beloved by Met fans, to say the least. I will never, ever forgive him for two things:

1) Trading Tom Seaver. Unconscionable! How do you trade your best player, the one who brought respect to the franchise? the one who fans came to see every time he pitched?

2) Humiliating Cleon Jones (one of my favorite Mets). For that episode alone, Grant should be cleaning toilets in hell for all eternity. That could have, and should have been handled privately, out of respect for all involved and the fans as well.

I remember going to a Banner Day in the late 70s. Two rough looking guys next to us had a huge banner. It was dark and had gravestones on it and it read "Grant's Tomb." Probably why they don't have Banner Day anymore!

Hate to speak ill of the dead, but he was a mean old bustard.

November 6, 2005
Count me down as not liking him. But I think his comment about free agency ruining the game shows just how little he knew about the game. By all accounts baseball is breathing and more alive then ever!

Putbeds 1986
January 15, 2006
I was in Florida on that Turkey Day weekend when M. Donald bought the farm and it was a blurb in the sports section of the Ft. Lauderdal Sun-Sentinel; he died a week after a beloved aunt passed away. I cried when she died but I didn't cry one damn bit when M. Donald died. Him and that crusty Dick Young got rid of Seaver (Enough Said). And he was a racist jerk too. He loved to use the word "boy" around black people in the 60's and 70's. Let a Caucasian owner try doing that in 2006!

July 27, 2006
What do you say about a man that traded away your FAVORITE Met of ALL-TIME? I remember the morning after he was traded. I was nine-years old with tears running down my face and having my dad try to explain 'contract dispute' to me.

M. Donald Grant didn't give a tinker's damn about the fans. He traded Tom Seaver away to try and prove some stupid point. I hated the man then and even as old as I am now, I STILL hate him. I'm not sorry he's gone. Bitter? Oh, a tad.

September 15, 2006
Mr. Grant should not have let the greatest pitcher in the history of the Mets, perhaps the greatest pitcher of the modern era after Koufax go like that. It is just so hard to believe. If Seaver would have stayed then, he would be our pitching coach right now.

October 1, 2006
This man will always be remembered for the trade of Tom Seaver, but he did more than that. He prevented the Mets from becoming a more successful team. He didn't promote Whitey Herzog to GM when he had the chance, instead giving the job to a guy who didn't even want it. He wouldn't accept the fact that free agency was a reality in baseball (he could have signed a few good ones) and his crass attitude alienated the players and others in the organization. The ball club would have been in more October games if he didn't create such a dark atmosphere around it with his arrogance.

He also hurt the New York sports scene by keeping the Jets from playing at Shea Stadium in September every year. This served as the initial step in the Jets' eventual move to New Jersey. If the Jets don't get their own stadium in New York and wind up relocating to another city, don't blame their owner. It would be a result of the egotism of M. Donald Grant.

December 22, 2006
Whitey Herzog once told Grant to his face that he "didn't know beans about baseball." Herzog knew the personnel in the entire organization better than anyone else and would have a perfect fit as GM or even field manager.

Had Hodges remained alive, there's no way the Mets would have tanked the way they did in the late 70s. He was such a tower of strength that Grant never questioned any of Gil's moves.

Grant served as a textbook example of how to run a franchise into the ground.

December 30, 2006
M Donald Grant was a snooty WASP who didn't care for the common folk. In my mind he is not only responsible for the "Massacre" of trading Tom Seaver away but not caring about anyone but himself.

From June of 1972 until July of 1974 I worked for a CPA firm, then located on the 23rd Floor of 37 Wall Street, which is now a residential condominium. Prior to my arrival the building was acquired by a bank and where the floors matched up the walls were broken through. The bank elimiated any express elevators and only about 3 times in the four years did I ever catch a non-stop trip.

On part of our floor and on the complete 24th Floor was a small brokerage firm owned by "The first Donald". His employees were subjected to the same frustations with the elevators. Obviously it must have been beneath him to come to the office. If he had and been subjected to all the stops, I'm sure that one call to the bank would have changed their policies.

May 8, 2007
The words "racist codger" come immediately to mind.

July 17, 2007
M. Donald Grant was my grandfather. He was a wonderful man who grew up in a very conservative time. He loved his family, he loved the New York Mets and he loved the fans. No matter what any reported or bitter account tells you this is the truth. Agree with his policies or don't agree with his policies. Play Monday morning quarterback with his trade decisions, he may have been wrong but he thought, truly, what he was doing was best for the team.

Please don't make it personal, you didn't know the man and everything you read isn't always true.

And Seaver was just as much a villain in that situation than everyone else. But I don't want to get started on that.

Bill T
July 17, 2007
M. Donald Grant was ultimately too stubborn, limited in his thinking, and a failure in his leadership of the Mets. First, you don't exactly have to be clairvoyant to see the long term effects on free agency. However, Grant's stubbornness missed a great opportunity. The New York market gave him an enormous competitive advantage. He had the chance to greatly improve the product he put on the field, build a competitive team, and increase revenues and the value of the team. Instead, he ran the team into the ground. His tenure and "vision" was a failure.

July 26, 2007
Don't get me wrong -- Grant should have stepped in and prevented Joe McDonald from trading Seaver -- but when you consider where Grant came from (basically a self-made millionaire, not from a rich background, and steeped in Depression-era ideals), the idea of a someone demanding to renegotiate his contract was unthinkable.

Seaver demanded the trade (it was not forced on him) when he felt that Daily News writer Dick Young overstepped boundaries and personally attacked him. Young had written that Seaver (and Seaver's wife Nancy) was jealous of Nolan Ryan's contract with the Angels. Of course, this was probably true. Seaver knew he was underpaid, and rightly complained. Grant was from another era, and rightly resisted. It was an unavoidable situation, unless Grant had some magical ability to transcend it and work out an agreement. He couldn't. C'est la vie!

July 26, 2007
In an article of the 30th anniversary of the "Midnight Massacre" Seaver revealed some tidbits that no one knew about Grant.

Grant called Seaver a communist because Seaver was a union rep. Now that is ironic--here are players trying to do away with the indentured servitude of baseball to install a free market society.

Grant also attacked Seaver after Seaver joined the Greenwich Country Club, claiming that Seaver was not worthy of such status because he was a ball player and not blue blood.

August 5, 2007
Sorry, Mr. Warner (Grant's grandson), I myself have heard nothing good of your grandfather. I have two first hand accounts from people who had been associated with him. The first, from a former Met great, who I have had business dealings in the past. And, from a upper echelon Anglo-Saxon employee at your grandad's Investment Banking firm. For reasons of privacy, I will not reveal the miserable stories of a miserable man. Besides running the Mets into the ground, he was keen on moving the club to Washington and breaking the hearts of Mets fans a second time. He was also a snob and a racist. Every time I think of Grant, I thank God for the Wilpon family. M.Donald Grant, Mach Shemo. Thats Hebrew for "May his name be erased".

Dan Gurney
September 28, 2007
Donald Grant was not a man who should have been running a baseball franchise. He did good things occasionally such as asking Bing Devine to interview Gil Hodges and if he liked him, he would arrange a trade with the Senators for him. But too many decisions went wrong: not hiring Herzog as GM or manager, not building up the team with Latin players as the Pirates were doing, ignoring free agency, humiliating Cleon Jones in public.

Long Time Mets Fan
February 3, 2008
Lets face it. You didn't exactly have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the long term effects of free agency. There were a lot of people making the same predictions as Grant. He was a small market mind with a big market team and, given the resources he had with the large New York market, he failed miserably.

He had an opportunity to make something great (or since it's the Mets, Amazing), and he blew it. The Yanks dove into the free agent market to put the best product they could on the field, and came out of it with multiple championships and increased revenue and value for the franchise. Grant took the opposite approach, traded the face of the franchise for little in return, did not go after free agents (i.e., invest in his product) and set the Mets on a course where they would have 7 losing seasons in a row, compiling a 434 - 641 record in that span with two 5th place finishes, and five 6th place finishes.

So congratulations M. Donald, like countless others, you saw that free agency would EVENTUALLY lead to a huge problem, but you failed to see that you could benefit enormously from that problem, failed to utilize your huge economic advantage, and failed in your job with the Mets. In the process, you completed a transaction that fans view with disdain over 30 years later while the team compiled a huge losing record for nearly a decade in the process. Some legacy!

Joseph Levy
February 9, 2008
M. Donald Grant ruined the Mets. His trading away Tom Seaver, a future Hall of Famer, for Pat Zachry, Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson and Dan Norman in and of itself qualifies him for the Hall of Shame. Besides this, he always thought he knew how to run a ball club better than the people around him, and when given the chance, hired sycophants as General Managers. He could not accept criticism of any kind. He could not understand that building a winner involves spending the money, not cutting corners.

Robert Fenton
November 7, 2008
I was his boat captain in 1973. I had just graduated from college. He was an interesting guy, old school for sure. He loved his gimlets and enjoyed a frequent hot dog and didn't socialize with players. He was fair as an employer although he did consider himself a blue blood and made it clear where you stood. Charlie (his chauffeur) and I certainly knew our places but he wasn't abusive. He couldn't help himself and I believe he meant well. He had lots of weird quirks but who doesn't? I think fondly of those times where he took guests out to dinner on his yacht. He loved to take short boat rides from Cedarhurst to his favorite lobster restaurant on Reynolds Channel where he at times invited me in and made me eat lobster (I had never had it before). I went to about 40 games that year and could have gone to them all. My memories are good and although I understand how many could think of him in a different light, I feel he was a tough old bird from a different age.

May 15, 2009
Ugh, what a nightmare.

March 3, 2010
M. Donald might be an example of what happens when you stay around too long. The game changed on him and Don still thought it was 1957. Imagine if M. Donald had retired after the 1973 season (or even anytime before 1977). He would have been remembered as the architect of the Miracle Mets, two World Series teams, the man who almost brought Willie Davis and Hank Aaron to NY in 1965 (an interesting but forgotten story) and one of two board members who voted to keep Willie Mays and the Giants in NY. (He would also be fondly remembered as the man who brought the aging Willie back). The other stuff with the Jets, Whitey Herzog , Nolan Ryan, Amos Otis would have been forgivable errors. M. Donald might have even been on the fast track to the HOF.

Instead, he stuck around, refused to change with the game, watched the Yankees totally outclass him in the 70's, drove Seaver out of town and oversaw the collapse of the Amazin' Mets and ushered in the second Met Dark Ages (1977-1983). Steinbrenner would have Reggie Jackson, M. Donald would have Roy Lee Jackson. Steinbrenner would sign Don Baylor, the Mets would counter with Bob Bailor...

May 4, 2012
He was blessed to live to 94. Guess the devil had to take him eventually.

July 6, 2012
As to 20/20 hindsight, Tom Seaver remained the gentleman he always was and Grant did not embrace Seaver's own work ethic in his profession, due to Grant's own self deception. Both worked hard to get to the top, but Grant refused to respect the hard work in the game. Seaver knew who he was dealing with and Payson's daughter agreed to a contract extension. Seaver should have remained a Met for life. Grant was not a victim of his times, as his grandson claimed. Snobbery, pride, and high mindedness are in every generation. These things were called into repentance 2,000 years ago and are just as ugly today. It was who Grant was.

Shickhaus Franks
December 21, 2014
His narrow-mindedness about regular people predated Donald Sterling (another elderly creep) and along with Celine Dion, he's probably the worst Canadian-born "human being" to hit the USA.

November 6, 2015
This guy's accusation of Tom Seaver being a communist was based on an old fallacy. Branch Rickey had once said that anyone who opposed the reserve clause was committing an act of communism, which people in baseball management wanted to believe was the truth. Grant was still living in those ancient days and sticking to this claim.

Mr. Rickey's comment was completely backwards! The reserve clause actually represented communism since it forcibly tied down players to their teams with no freedom to move around. The process started by Curt Flood and continued by other freedom-fighters like Seaver was something that the ignorant Grant was way too stubborn to accept. The situation that led to the Midnight Massacre showed that the national pastime had been run in a non-American fashion for years and old M. Donald was still trying to operate that way. It was Grant and many others in baseball ownership who were the real communists.

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