Thursday, March 1, 2018

Sox Petition City Of Boston To Pull Yawkey Way Name

Well, now it's official. No matter where you stand on the controversy over Yawkey Way, the Red Sox have formally petitioned the City of Boston to change the name of the iconic street to Jersey Street (its original designation). The team issued the following statement: "Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all." Reports of John Henry being "haunted" by the Yawkey legacy seem a little far-fetched—begging the question of why the NOG didn't just re-name the street in 2002 when they took over. Apparently, it takes sixteen years to get Henry haunted up enough to act. In any event, Thomas A. Yawkey has been linked to alleged racist attitudes—that many say resulted in the team being the last in MLB to integrate. Clearly, there is no denying that fact. But apocryphal stories of Yawkey shouting racial epithets at the great Jackie Robinson during his Fenway Park tryout have never been confirmed. More recently, other voices—including some in Boston's minority community—have come to the defense of Yawkey and the Yawkey Foundation, due mostly to the overwhelming charitable contributions to the city over the decades. Bill Nowlin, who has written an authoritative (and only!) biography of Yawkey (Tom Yawkey: Patriarch of the Boston Red Sox) stated the following to FN today, "I don't mind the name Jersey Street. I'm a little uncertain about the benefits of renaming Yawkey Way, though....The Red Sox were the last team to integrate and Yawkey owned 100% of the team. That said, I was never able to find anything that indicated he himself was personally racist. Every one of the black players on the Red Sox in the 1960s and 1970s with whom I spoke had nothing but good things to say about him. Presumably it might make people feel better to have the street name changed. I just wonder if it is fair to the Yawkey name, to not credit him for perhaps having changed over the years." Given the fact that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh pretty much routinely does the NOG's bidding, look for the name change to happen soon.