Red Sox file petition to officially change name of Yawkey Way

Carrie Guzman
March 3, 2018

"Restoring the Jersey Street name is meant to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all", the team said in a statement yesterday.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 15.

The name has been under fire for years for its connection to what the team's principal owner has said is the franchise's complicated racial past under former owner Tom Yawkey.

Supporters of the Yawkey name included his namesake foundation, one of the largest philanthropic institutions in Boston.

But in recent years, Yawkey's refusal to sign African American players has become a sore point, particularly in Boston, a city that has in years past gained a reputation for racism. That was in 1959, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers.

The move, which was detailed in a statement from the team, comes as the organization attempts to distance itself from former owner Tom Yawkey and "reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all".

The Red Sox noted that the renaming initiative isn't a reflection of the positive work that done by the Yawkey Foundation.

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A push to change the name was sparked last summer when current owner John Henry expressed he was still "haunted" by Yawkey's racist legacy.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall Of Fame in 1980.

"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 numerous 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", Henry said to Silverman in August.

"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 numerous 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 Yawkey Foundation, the charitable group funded by the estate of Yawkey and his wife, Jean, blasted the Red Sox' decision.

In August, Mayor Martin J. Walsh's office said that he was "supportive of this change".

In order for Henry to file the official petition, he needed consensus from all residents whose properties touch the street on the need for a change and what the new name should be. The street was named for him in 1977.

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