Red Sox Ask City to Change “Yawkey Way” Because Tom Yawkey Was Pretty Racist
The Boston Red Sox no longer want the iconic street running along the western edge of Fenway Park named after a man famous for dragging his feet on integration.
Last August, current Red Sox owner John Henry said he was considering changing the name of Yawkey Way, which is renamed after former Red Sox owner Tom Yakwey in 1977. Looks like he’s finally made up his mind, because on Wednesday the team officially asked the City of Boston to change “Yawkey Way” back to the original “Jersey Street.”
Here is the team’s official statement:
Red Sox filed a petition to the city to restore the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street. Here is a statement from the team: pic.twitter.com/5ILfEDeeoq
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) February 28, 2018
Tom Yawkey owned the Boston Red Sox from 1933 until his death at the age of 73 in 1976.
There are numerous stories and anecdotes about Yawkey’s racist attitudes. His obituary in the Boston Globe included an anecdote about the time he had black players come try out for the Red Sox, only to tell general manager Eddie Collins, “all right, get those n—— out of the ballpark.”
Yawkey famously insisted he was not racist in an interview with Sports Illustrated in 1965. However, he only came off sounding more racist.
“They blame me. I have no feeling against colored people,” Yawkey told SI. “I employ a lot of them in the South. But they are clannish, and when that story got around that we didn’t want Negroes they all decided to sign with some other club.”
One indisputable fact about Yawkey is that his Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to field a black player. That happened a full 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the sport’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Of course, a lot of people will object to this change, saying it’s another case of history being wiped away in the name of political correctness. They’ll correctly point out that Yawkey wasn’t all bad and gave lots of money to charity.
However, the fact is the Red Sox have a brand to protect. And they think they’ll ingratiate more people than they alienate by disavowing a known racist.
Hat Tip – [Deadspin]