John Henry Says Red Sox Want to Change Yawkey Way Name Due to Racist Legacy

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistAugust 17, 2017

Aug 15, 2017; Boston, MA, USA; A general view of Fenway Park at sunset during the third inning the game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Red Sox principal owner John Henry wants his franchise to pave the way for the city to change the name of Yawkey Way due to the racist history associated with the street's namesake, Tom Yawkey.

In an email to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, Henry said he would like to see the Red Sox play a role in helping to change the name of the street where Fenway Park is located:

“The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets. 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.”

Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976. During his time as owner, they were the last Major League Baseball team to integrate in 1959. 

In 1977, one year after his death, the street where Fenway Park is located was renamed Yawkey Way in his honor. He was also elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. 

The Yawkey family continued to own the Red Sox until 2002, when Henry purchased the franchise. 

Henry did tell Silverman if the decision were only up to him, he would rename the street "David Ortiz Way" or "Big Papi Way" after the former Red Sox designated hitter who retired at the end of last season and had his No. 34 retired by the team in a ceremony earlier this season.