The Red Sox will initiate an effort to change the name of Yawkey Way after team owner John Henry said he was “haunted” by the racial views held by the street’s namesake.
Henry told the Boston Herald the time has come to take former owner Tom Yawkey’s name off the street that runs alongside Fenway Park — though such decisions ultimately are up to the city. Henry even has a potential new name in mind: David Ortiz Way.
“We ought to be able to lead the effort and if others in the community favor a change, we would welcome it — particularly in light of the country’s current leadership stance with regard to intolerance,” Henry told the Herald.
Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976, and ownership of the team remained in the Yawkey family until 2002. On Yawkey’s watch, the Red Sox waited until 1959 before becoming the last major league team to integrate — 12 years after Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
“The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets,” Henry told the Herald. “But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can — particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully.
“The Red Sox Foundation and other organizations the Sox created such as Home Base have accomplished a lot over the last 15 years, but I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.”