Boston Red Sox petition city to rename Yawkey Way

The Boston Red Sox have officially petitioned the city to rename a famous street adjacent to historic Fenway Park because of its association with the ball club's racist late owner, it was reported on Wednesday.

The team filed a request with Boston's Public Improvement Commission to change the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street, its original name.

News of the request was reported by the Boston Herald. 

'Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all,' the Red Sox said in a statement on Wednesday.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for March 15. 

The Red Sox have asked the city of Boston to rename famous Yawkey Way (pictured), due to the tainted legacy of the former team owner it's named for

The Red Sox have asked the city of Boston to rename famous Yawkey Way (pictured), due to the tainted legacy of the former team owner it's named for

Last summer, current Red Sox owner John Henry said that he'd welcome changing name of the street next to Fenway Park, which honors his predecessor Tom Yawkey, a baseball Hall Of Fame inductee.

Under Yawkey, who owned the team from 1933 until his death in 1976, the Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, which they did in 1959.

A year after Yawkey's death, the street was renamed in his honor.

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. 

After Jackie Robinson broke baseball color barrier in 1947, it took the Red Sox 12 years to sign a black player - Pumpsie Green.

Before adding Green, the Red Sox had declined to sign elite-level talent like Robinson and Willie Mays.

Former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, left, stands with Red Sox player Reggie Smith after Game Six of the 1967 World Series. The team had not integrated until 1959

The street is a public way controlled by the local government, but is closely associated with Fenway, as it is the stadium's official address and shuts down on game days.


Tom Yawkey

Tom Yawkey

Yawkey was 30 when he bought the Red Sox in 1933 with his inheritance from the lumber and iron business.

He sank millions into the team trying to build a winning franchise, making it his life's work, but never saw the team win a World Series.

Yawkey was apparently reluctant to integrate the Red Sox, waiting 12 years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier to sign a black player.

Yawkey died in 1976 and his family controlled the team until 2002, when it was sold.

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

'The Red Sox don't control the naming or renaming of streets,' Henry said in an email to the Boston Herald. 

'But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder

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