Name of Yawkey Way Officially Changed to Jersey Street
Yawkey Way is officially no more.
Boston officials Thursday unanimously approved changing the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street, which was the original name before being changed to honor former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey the year after he died in 1977.
The change was made due to allegations that Yawkey was a racist who resisted to hire black players to the organization in the 1940's and 1950's.
Yawkey owned the Boston baseball franchise between 1933 until 1976. The Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to hire a black player, which according to ESPN, was infielder Pumpsie Green, who was called up to the big leagues in 1959. It was 12 years prior that Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Dodgers franchise.
The Red Sox organization filed a petition with the Boston Public Improvement Commission back in February to change the name due to the franchise's mission to "reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all."
"Today’s vote is an important step in our ongoing effort to make Fenway Park a place where everyone feels welcome," the Red Sox said in a statement following the unanimous vote. "We recognize we have a long way to go, but remain committed to building a spirit of diversity, inclusivity, and openness within our front office and our ballpark."
Last summer, the City of Boston renamed a piece of the road to David Ortiz Drive to honor the retired slugger and multi-time postseason hero.
There, of course, was opposition to the ruling by Yawkey supporters, and the Yawkey Foundation, a charity named for the former owner and his wife, Jean, which has provided millions of dollars in charitable donations to support many programs around Boston.
"As we have said throughout this process, the effort to expunge Tom Yawkey’s name has been based on a false narrative about his life and his historic 43-year ownership of the Red Sox," Yawkey Foundation officials said in their statement. "The drastic step of renaming the street, now officially sanctioned by the City of Boston (and contradicting the honor the City bestowed upon Tom Yawkey over 40 years ago), will unfortunately give lasting credence to that narrative and unfairly tarnish his name, despite his unparalleled record of transforming the Red Sox and Fenway Park and supporting the city he loved through his philanthropy."
At this point, no word has been given as to when the street would officially be changed.