Today the City of Boston approved the plan to change the name of Yawkey Way, the street outside Fenway Park named in honor of the former Red Sox owner, Tom Yawkey. The proposal passed unanimously, and the raodway will revert to being called Jersey Street, which it was originally called before being changed in 1977 after Yawkey’s death.
The team filed a petition with the commission in February to change the name as part of a mission to “reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.” As we noted when the proposal was first made, having the name Yawkey on it contradicted that mission, given Yawkey’s track record as team owner. He famously refused to promote black players from the minor leagues during the 1950’s despite exceptional performance and the Red Sox became the last major league team to integrate in 1959 when Pumpsie Green was added to the roster. Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in 1947, called Yawkey “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball,” and there is considerable historical material which supports that claim.
The city renamed a stretch of the road David Ortiz Drive last summer in honor of the retired Red Sox designated hitter. Now the whole thing has a new appellation.