Red Sox owner John Henry said last August that he would consider changing the name of Yawkey Way, since Tom Yawkey was a racist who owned the last major-league team to integrate, and also once rejected a deal for Willie Mays. Today, the team announced the switch.
Yawkey Way will now be “Jersey Street,” which was the original name before the change in 1977. Here’s the team’s statement:
The Red Sox, with the approval and cooperation of all abutters on Yawkey Way, have filed a petition with the City of Boston Public Improvement Commission requesting that the Yawkey Way street name be restored to its original Jersey Street name. Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.
It is important to separate the unfortunate and undeniable history of the Red Sox with regards to race and integration from the incredible charitable work the Yawkey Foundation has accomplished in this millennium and over the last 16 years. The positive impact they have had, and continue to have, in hospitals, on education programs, and with underserved communities throughout Boston and New England, is admirable and enduring. We have the utmost respect for their mission, leadership, and the institutions they support.
We appreciate the partnership of the other property owners, and the consideration of city on this important matter.
A Red Sox spokesperson said the team had considered a few other options but none of them was as good as going back to “Jersey Street,” which is honestly pretty underwhelming. So it won’t be named after anyone for now, although David Ortiz Drive, the little extension past Brookline Avenue, will still exist. Tom Yawkey will receive less exposure but continue to suck ass.