Who is Steve Cohen?

Andrew Hahn, Writer

In 2002, the Wilpon Family became the owners of the New York Mets. Since then, the Mets have made the playoffs only three times (2006, 2015, and 2016). During the same period, the Yankees have made the postseason on 14 separate occasions.  Frustrated Mets fans have been vocal in criticizing the ownership for spending less money on players than their crosstown rivals. In 2019, for instance, the Mets’ payroll was $149 million compared to $205 million for the Yankees. There have been rumors that the Wilpons are short on cash, especially after it was found that Fred Wilpon was a victim of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. Over the last few seasons, fans have been heard at Citi Field demanding that the team be sold, presumably to someone who has either more money or more desire to spend money. These fans’ wishes may have come true with the introduction of Steve Cohen to the Mets organization. 

Cohen purchased a share of the New York Mets and will become the majority owner in five years. Who is this guy, and is he going to save the franchise? For one thing, Cohen is not just rich; he is really, really rich. Having made a killing as a hedge fund manager, he has an estimated net worth of $13.6 billion, which will make him the wealthiest owner in the MLB. However, Cohen has the reputation of being corrupt. In 2013, he had to pay a $1.8 billion fine after pleading guilty to insider trading, wire fraud, and securities fraud. It was one of the biggest fines ever handed down on Wall Street.  As part of his punishment, he was not allowed to work on Wall Street for two years. Cohen’s shady dealings in business suggest that he operates at “win at any cost” mentality, bending and even breaking the rules to succeed. The question remains whether this attitude will translate into success in MLB or get Cohen into more trouble.

One thing for sure is that Cohen is a Mets fan. The 63-year-old businessman was

born and raised in Great Neck and has been rooting for Mets his whole life. The hope for

Mets fans is that he is more interested in having his favorite team win rather than adding profits to his vast fortune. The Wilpons were infamous for refusing to spend big money on free agents, suggesting that they were more interested in profits rather than wins.  Cohen, on the other hand, has a history of spending obscene amounts of money for things that he likes. Aside from purchasing a baseball team, he is an art collector, with his collection values at over $1 billion. A man who once spent $165 million for a Roy Lichtenstein painting will probably not think twice about paying top dollar for an All-star free agent. At least that’s the hope for die-hard Mets fans. Knowing his history, Cohen may be able to have everything that he wants. He already has his favorite team. He will then bring multiple titles to Queens. And he will make a ton of money at the same time.  That’s of course if he stays out of prison. Let’s go Mets!