The Red Sox have had enough. At a moment when racial tensions have escalated rapidly and the removal of Confederate statues acts as a flashpoint for violent and racially divisive protests, the Red Sox are ready to start taking down a symbol of their own racially tainted history. Red Sox principal owner John Henry, saying he’s still “haunted” by the racist legacy of his legendary predecessor Tom Yawkey, told the Herald that his franchise welcomes renaming Yawkey Way. The Sox, he said, should take the lead in the process of rebranding the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was renamed to honor the former owner in 1977. Yawkey’s legacy as owner from 1933 to 1976, and then by his widow Jean Yawkey and the Yawkey Trust until Henry bought the team in 2002, was as complicated as it was lengthy. An inescapable, significant and enduring part of the Yawkey legacy is a racist one, and Yawkey -- a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame -- oversaw the 12 year-stretch from 1947 to 1959 in which the Red Sox watched every other team in Major League Baseball integrate before they became the last club to do so. That residue will not disappear when Yawkey Way is renamed, but it also does not need to diminish the positive impact the Yawkey Trust, funded primarily by the $700 million sale of the team when Henry came aboard, still makes today for multiple worthy causes in Boston and New England. Yawkey Way, however, is different. It is a public street, funded by taxpayer dollars. It’s also where the Red Sox conduct their business and on game days hold permanent rights, after reaching a controversial deal with the city in 2013, to close the street and sell concessions.
'Big Papi Way' next to Fenway? 'Haunted' Red Sox want to rename Yawkey Way
Boston Herald | Aug 17