The Boston Red Sox are not in a hurry to remove two vertical white lines on Fenway Park’s left-field scoreboard that show the Morse code for the names of controversial former owner Tom Yawkey and wife Jean Yawkey (the lines help separate the out-of-town scores).
Instead, the team says it’s focusing on renaming Yawkey Way alongside the famed ballpark.
Tom Yawkey owned the Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976. Under his ownership, the team was the last in Major League Baseball to racially integrate—in 1959, 12 years after Jackie Robinson pioneered the process with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Yawkey himself is said to have screamed a racial epithet at Robinson during a tryout at Fenway in 1945.
Given the recent tumult due to removals of Confederate monuments, the Red Sox’s ownership felt it had to act (principal owner John Henry has said he’s “haunted” by Yawkey’s legacy). As for the scoreboard’s coded initials—which Yawkey himself had added in 1947—those are low in the batting order.
However, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has signaled that the city will not stand in the way should the Sox wish to scrub the coding from the landmark.