Boston’s Public Improvement Commission voted unanimously on April 26 to rename Yawkey Way alongside Fenway Park as Jersey Street. That was its name until the late 1970s, when it was renamed for Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who died in 1976.
Yawkey controlled the Sox from 1933 until his death. Under his ownership, the team was the last in Major League Baseball to 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 (though the individual has never been conclusively identified).
Calls to rename Yawkey Way arose last summer following the deadly mayhem in Charlottesville, Virginia, that white supremacists sparked over a statue of Robert E. Lee and the subsequent imbroglio over Confederate monuments.
On January 18 of this year, Red Sox President Sam Kennedy told a press conference that the renaming seemed imminent, with “Jersey Street” a definite option. Red Sox owner John Henry spurred the move originally.
The commission’s April 26 vote caps the controversy.
- Yawkey Way renaming: Red Sox not opposed to change just outside of Fenway Park [Curbed Boston]
- Massachusetts’ Confederate memorial is the only one in New England [Curbed Boston]
- Fenway Park guide: The ultimate rundown on the home of the Red Sox [Curbed Boston]
- Yawkey Way renamed? Red Sox want city to change it back to ‘Jersey Street’ [Curbed Boston]