Yawkey Way now Jersey St again

Spelunker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
6,637
John Henry says Red Sox will lead effort to change name of Yawkey Way

Red Sox principal owner John Henry, saying he’s still “haunted” by the racist legacy of his legendary predecessor Tom Yawkey, told the Herald that his franchise welcomes renaming Yawkey Way. The Sox, he said, should take the lead in the process of rebranding the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was renamed to honor the former owner in 1977.
“The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets,” Henry said. “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.”
Practically speaking, the process for renaming a public street in Boston where there are no residents and only businesses requires a petition to be launched by the abutters. The petition requires 100 percent of the abutters to sign it.

Of the six parcels with Yawkey Way addresses, there are only two abutters: Henry’s Red Sox and the D’Angelo family, owners of ‘47 Brand and the merchandise shops across the street from Fenway.

The D’Angelos are on board with a name change.


Mods, I don't know if this makes more sense here or on the main board- it's sort of the confluence of both- but this is a big deal. Also if folks want to practice expanding their personal bubbles I'm sure the comments sections for articles on this are going to be depressing as all hell.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
4,057
Boston, MA
Seriously. Baseball players wear jerseys, so Jersey Street makes sense.

I don't know why the MBTA decided to use Yawkey as the station name. Sure, the street kind of extended down there before it became David Ortiz Drive, but it should have been named "Fenway Park" initially.
 

Titans Bastard

has sunil gulati in his sights
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 15, 2002
11,013
I don't know why the MBTA decided to use Yawkey as the station name. Sure, the street kind of extended down there before it became David Ortiz Drive, but it should have been named "Fenway Park" initially.
Fenway Park is tricky because it could create some confusion with the Fenway stop on the D line. Maybe something more generic that still clearly refers to Fenway like "Ballpark" would work.
 

mt8thsw9th

anti-SoSHal
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
17,120
Brooklyn
Why not Williams Way or Yastrzemski Way?

Those are the only two that make sense IMO.
Because Jersey Street was the name of the street. Why does it make sense for one continuous street from Brookline Ave to Park Drive have two separate names? And as has been mentioned, it's not like Jersey isn't something baseball-centric anyhow.
 

edoug

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
3,200
I have mixed feelings about this but if does happen I would hope they consider Bill Russell Drive as a possibility.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,279
Maine
While I applaud Henry and the Red Sox for trying to take the lead on this, I think their message would be a lot stronger if they started with changing something they can control: removing the Yawkeys' initials from the scoreboard on the Monster.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
29,054
AZ
When they renamed the part of the street west-ish of the ballpark David Ortiz Drive, I don't recall it requiring too much effort or controversy with the City.

It's not exactly like it's a major thoroughfare. It's already an extension off Jersey Street, and so now the same street has three names. I would think the City would be glad to knock it back down to two.

It makes you think that maybe this has been in the works for a while, and naming the first part David Ortiz Drive was part of the plan to grease the skids, but recent events have made Henry think the time is right.
 

Tyrone Biggums

nfl meets tri-annually at a secret country mansion
SoSH Member
Aug 15, 2006
6,424
I'm sorry but they really need to scrub themselves clean of the Yawkey family name. The racist past is embarrassing. I think you could name something else after Ortiz but maybe name the way after Crispus Attucks even though it's not baseball related it could be a nice way to try and show progress.

If people want to know about the Yawkey family they can go to the Hall of Fame.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
29,054
AZ
While I applaud Henry and the Red Sox for trying to take the lead on this, I think their message would be a lot stronger if they started with changing something they can control: removing the Yawkeys' initials from the scoreboard on the Monster.
Do we know if that's ever been raised? Maybe he just hasn't thought about it. Might be worth sending an e-mail. I guess there might be some resistance within the organization, given that many are apparently still fond of Mrs. Yawkey.

Also, what percentage of people even know what those are? The idea is to be symbolic, and that's a change that would have some internal symbolism but very little public symbolism like changing the name of a street. Not saying I don't support it, just that it's relatively less significant. Yawkey Way is the team's address.
 

AlNipper49

Huge Member
Dope
Apr 3, 2001
40,681
Mtigawi
Oooops I moved another thread here. Since both are not long yet I'm going to merge the two. Please excuse the perhaps haphazard discussion of 2 10 post threads being merged together.
 

oumbi

Member
SoSH Member
Jun 15, 2006
2,863
Bill Russell drive would be fine. But I expect a Red Sox to be the source of the new name, ala Dave Ortiz getting a street named after him.

Williams and Yaz come to mind. Though, they might reach way, way back to Cy Young or that era.

Then again, they may be more direct and simply call it "Red Sox Ave."
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

Found no thrill on Blueberry Hill
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2008
29,054
AZ
I'm sorry but they really need to scrub themselves clean of the Yawkey family name. The racist past is embarrassing. I think you could name something else after Ortiz but maybe name the way after Crispus Attucks even though it's not baseball related it could be a nice way to try and show progress.

If people want to know about the Yawkey family they can go to the Hall of Fame.
My view is that would be the right thing in the wrong place. Attucks is more important than baseball, which makes the monument to him on the commons appropriate. For the same reason, I wouldn't like to see a ballpark drive or a football drive named "Washington" deliberately. It is two different universes.

Williams and Yaz come to mind. Though, they might reach way, way back to Cy Young or that era.
While not required that it be named after a person of color, I think it would be the right gesture to do so. It says both "we recognize we wrongly honored someone who didn't deserve it," and also, "and we're going to make some recompense".
 

Byrdbrain

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
8,588
I think it would have showed a bit more leadership if they went public with wanting to do this was before all this other crap went down.
It seems a bit "bandwagony" doing it now.

That said Yawkey was a dirtbag, I don't think there will be much issue from people changing it at this point.
 

soxhop411

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 4, 2009
35,600
Nick punto drive

/s

But seriously. I get the name they pick is something we won't expect.
 

scotian1

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
14,997
Kingston, Nova Scotia
I understand that Tom Yawkey had racist attitudes but I also believe that many owners would not have kept this team in Boston during the years where attendance was pitiful. So I believe that without Yawkey there is a strong possibility there would not be a Boston Red Sox.So as in the case of many people it is not just a black /white issue on his character or his contributions to professional baseball in Boston. The street I have no problem with renaming but keep the Morse Code initials on the Green Monster.As a side note, does this eventually lead to demands that Joe Cronin's number be taken down from the right field façade and his number unretired? Just asking. Here is a photo of Fenway during a game in the early 60s.
upload_2017-8-17_18-30-56.png
 

Domer

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 21, 2010
3,667
02148
Because Jersey Street was the name of the street. Why does it make sense for one continuous street from Brookline Ave to Park Drive have two separate names? And as has been mentioned, it's not like Jersey isn't something baseball-centric anyhow.
It also restores the order of street names as intended:

Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, Ipswich, Yawkey, Kilmarnock never made much sense.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
40,842
Pedro Place or some such.

Or just go generic Baseball Dr or Sox Way.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,417
I understand that Tom Yawkey had racist attitudes but I also believe that many owners would not have kept this team in Boston during the years where attendance was pitiful. So I believe that without Yawkey there is a strong possibility there would not be a Boston Red Sox.So as in the case of many people it is not just a black /white issue on his character or his contributions to professional baseball in Boston. The street I have no problem with renaming but keep the Morse Code initials on the Green Monster.As a side note, does this eventually lead to demands that Joe Cronin's number be taken down from the right field façade and his number unretired? Just asking. Here is a photo of Fenway during a game in the early 60s.
View attachment 16954
I agree. Yawkey sure wasn't a saint but he had a bigger impact on the Red Sox than pretty much any other individual in the organization's history and you don't have to name a street after him, or put up a statue, but to dismiss his contributions to the organization and not have some form of acknowledgment to his accomplishments in building the Red Sox within Fenway Park is, I don't want to say whitewashing, but it's not really truthful. You can't celebrate the amazing history of baseball in Boston, and the charm of an old ballpark like Fenway, without acknowledging Yawkey's positive contributions to the organization.

At the end of the day we as a society have to come to grips with the fact that a majority of the people in world history have deep character flaws that look worse and worse the further we get away from their time period.
 

chrisfont9

Member
SoSH Member
I understand that Tom Yawkey had racist attitudes but I also believe that many owners would not have kept this team in Boston during the years where attendance was pitiful. So I believe that without Yawkey there is a strong possibility there would not be a Boston Red Sox.So as in the case of many people it is not just a black /white issue on his character or his contributions to professional baseball in Boston. The street I have no problem with renaming but keep the Morse Code initials on the Green Monster.As a side note, does this eventually lead to demands that Joe Cronin's number be taken down from the right field façade and his number unretired? Just asking. Here is a photo of Fenway during a game in the early 60s.
View attachment 16954
Or! If they had signed Mays and Robinson, like they could have, maybe a lot more people would have come to the games.
 

Tyrone Biggums

nfl meets tri-annually at a secret country mansion
SoSH Member
Aug 15, 2006
6,424
I understand that Tom Yawkey had racist attitudes but I also believe that many owners would not have kept this team in Boston during the years where attendance was pitiful. So I believe that without Yawkey there is a strong possibility there would not be a Boston Red Sox.So as in the case of many people it is not just a black /white issue on his character or his contributions to professional baseball in Boston. The street I have no problem with renaming but keep the Morse Code initials on the Green Monster.As a side note, does this eventually lead to demands that Joe Cronin's number be taken down from the right field façade and his number unretired? Just asking. Here is a photo of Fenway during a game in the early 60s.
View attachment 16954
I get where you're coming from but there is no excuse for racism. Cronin was a player not the owner of a team. When you look up and down the rosters when he played I'm sure a good amount of players were racist. We need to show that the city has moved forward and scrub away any ounce of racism here. The street needs to be named after an African American player, period. Just like Faneuil Hall needs to be renamed immediately.

Yawkey is also the guy who could have had Willie Mays and probably Jackie Robinson too if he wasn't so racist. That would have went a long way to solving the scenario you mentioned.

His initials should also be scrubbed clean from the monster. Any pictures of him should be removed from the property the team needs to be scrubbed clean of racism.
 
Last edited:

nighthob

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
8,670
At the end of the day we as a society have to come to grips with the fact that a majority of the people in world history have deep character flaws that look worse and worse the further we get away from their time period.
And that one day people will look at the current era the same way.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
10,044
I agree that Tom Yawkey is a big part of the team's history, and so removing his initials from the Monster is going a bit too far. I'll never defend Yawkey, his views, or the racists he hired and kept in his organization long past their expiration date. At the same time, it doesn't hurt to acknowledge the positive pieces of Yawkey's legacy as well, which not only include the team itself, but also the Jimmy Fund and the Yawkey Foundation.

As for the street, it's time to be renamed. I never understood why they changed the name to Yawkey Way so soon after his death in the first place.
 

scotian1

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
14,997
Kingston, Nova Scotia
Cronin was also the GM of the Red Sox and was influential in not signing Willie Mays.

"Eddie Glennon, the GM of our club in Birmingham, called Cronin," recalled Digby. "The owner of the Black Barons had told us we could have Mays for $4,500. I said, 'I'll be back to you by tomorrow.' Glennon had asked me, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I think he's a big leaguer.' We could have had Mays in center and [Ted] Williams in left."

"Cronin sent another scout down to look at him, but [owner Tom] Yawkey and Cronin already had made up their minds they weren't going to take any black players."
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,417
To be fair, are there not a bunch of teams that "almost" had Aaron and Mays and other players but somehow didn't end up with them? I know at one point the Giants swore they were going to sign Aaron and at another point the Braves swore that they were going to sign Mays.

I'm not saying that if the Sox had a more enlightened owner they wouldn't have been a better team through the 50s and 60s; but old scouts and managers love to tell stories about how they wanted to sign HOF Player X, only to be blocked by someone else.
 

TheoShmeo

Skrub's sympathy case
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
12,890
Boston, NY
Devers Drive?

Or is the sample size too small?

(Ducking).

This is the right move. That said, a small part of me is bothered by erasing a name that was so long associated with the Red Sox. And I will never forget the PA announcements about Jean Yawkey's "very own private box." Endless pre-teen and teenage yucks over that.

But kudos to JWH and while there will be a process to get it down, it shall indeed get done. Who could really oppose it?

Edit: After thinking about this, my view has changed, and is reflected in a post on page 6 of this thread.
 
Last edited:

jose melendez

Earl of Acie
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 23, 2003
22,456
Washington DC
I think this is a great idea. I used to do PR for the Yawkey Trust, their good works are adequately represented by the named things at MGH. This is a wise change.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
12,279
Maine
To be fair, are there not a bunch of teams that "almost" had Aaron and Mays and other players but somehow didn't end up with them? I know at one point the Giants swore they were going to sign Aaron and at another point the Braves swore that they were going to sign Mays.

I'm not saying that if the Sox had a more enlightened owner they wouldn't have been a better team through the 50s and 60s; but old scouts and managers love to tell stories about how they wanted to sign HOF Player X, only to be blocked by someone else.
These weren't cases of "the one that got away" because of unforeseen or uncontrollable circumstances. They had free and clear chances to sign Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays before anyone else had interest and passed because the players were black. There were no other circumstances that prevented the signing. No dispute on price. No one swooping in at the last minute to poach the player. Plain and simple Yawkey declined to do the deals.

Jackie Robinson had a tryout at Fenway in April of 1945...six whole months before Branch Rickey and the Dodgers signed him. The Red Sox got first crack at a 17-year-old Willie Mays because the Sox-affiliated Birmingham Barons shared their facility with the Negro League team that Mays played for. The GM of the Barons knew the owner of the Black Barons and had the particulars figured out. The only thing that stood in the way of the deal was Yawkey saying no. It's entirely on him.
 

Spelunker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 17, 2005
6,637
It also restores the order of street names as intended:

Arlington, Berkeley, Clarendon, Dartmouth, Exeter, Fairfield, Gloucester, Hereford, Ipswich, Yawkey, Kilmarnock never made much sense.
I don't think any of that holds after Hereford.
 

RIFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,180
Blackstone MA
I understand that Tom Yawkey had racist attitudes but I also believe that many owners would not have kept this team in Boston during the years where attendance was pitiful. So I believe that without Yawkey there is a strong possibility there would not be a Boston Red Sox.So as in the case of many people it is not just a black /white issue on his character or his contributions to professional baseball in Boston. The street I have no problem with renaming but keep the Morse Code initials on the Green Monster.As a side note, does this eventually lead to demands that Joe Cronin's number be taken down from the right field façade and his number unretired? Just asking. Here is a photo of Fenway during a game in the early 60s.
View attachment 16954
That picture also shows why Yaz is deserving of a fitting honor. '67 changed everything.
 

Jordu

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2003
6,709
Brookline
Oil Can Alley.

Ah, just call it Jersey Street again. Fits with the alphabetized ordering of street names in the Back Bay and The Fenway: ... Hereford, Ipswich, Jersey, Kilmarnock, Longwood.
 

Nuf Ced

stupidity monitor
SoSH Member
Jul 27, 2001
9,716
Cape Ann
Hiring a qualified minority manager or selling ownership shares and bringing in a minority partner would go farther to separate Henry from Yawkey's legacy in my opinion. The city renaming a street on behalf of John Henry is purely a symbolic gesture.
 
Last edited:

Al Zarilla

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 8, 2005
51,570
San Andreas Fault
Agreed but Yaz had a fairly close relationship with Yawkey and I wonder if he would accept the honour.
Good point about Yaz, who always had glowing things to say about Yawkey. So did Williams. Yawkey did drag the team out of the doldrums, where they were one of the worst teams in baseball from soon after the sale of Ruth until he bought them in 1933 and brought in great players like Grove and Foxx. Too bad he had this one thing, in which, by the way, he wasn't alone. Branch Rickey was the big exception back then. Sure, Yawkey was wrong, but so we're most of the rest of the owners. The Sox were the last to integrate though, and with Pumpsie Green, no less.