Apr 14 2009

Six Degrees of Separation: The Vanderbilt Cup Races and the New York Mets

On April 13, 2009, I attended Opening Night at Citifield- the new home of my beloved New York Mets. After a fun evening and another tough loss, I wondered if it is possible to link the New York Mets to the Vanderbilt Cup Races. Here is my best six degrees of separation.


Harry Payne Whitney was a prominent sportsman and businessman from the wealthy Long Island Whitney family. In 1909 he was a judge of the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race. In this photo, he can be seen on the course speaking to August Belmont.


Harry Payne Whitney was also involved in the development of the Long Island Motor Parkway. As shown in this rare business card, Whitney served as its first vice-president.

Okay, now the link to the Mets: Harry Payne Whitney's younger brother was William Payne Whitney, known by his middle name. Payne Whitney and his wife Helen Hay had two children; John Hay and Joan.


Joan Whitney would eventually inherit much of the family fortune and marry Charles Payson. In 1961, Joan Whitney Payson became the co-founder and majority owner of the New York Mets.

Ta-da: There is the six degrees of separation: The niece of the judge of the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race and first vice-president of the Long Island Motor Parkway was the first majority owner and co-founder of the New York Mets.


Jun 09 2009 Whitney Smith 11:52 AM

I am distantly related to the Whitney family and currently doing some research of my geneology. My grandmother was Daisy Whitney born in Maybinton,S.C. on October 10,1888. She was instrumental in my interest with our family history. I have many old letters and notes from family reunions that she wrote and would like to pass all this on down to my children. Any information on any relatives of the Whitney family would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Jul 19 2009 Howard Kroplick 4:57 PM

Hi Whitney:

I would suggest contacting the Manhasset Library and the Greentree Foundation for more information on your family.

Name: Greentree Foundation
Street: 220 Community Drive
Manhasset, ny 11030-3814
Phone: (516) 627-0801




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