The Red Sox are pushing for the City of Boston to change the name of an iconic street adjacent to Fenway Park.
The team has filed a petition to change the name of Yawkey Way back to its former name of Jersey Street. The team says the move would show fans that Fenway "is inclusive and welcoming to all."
Over the summer, team owner John Henry said he was "haunted" by the racist legacy of the street's namesake, Tom Yawkey, who owned the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976. His widow, Jean Yawkey, and later the Yawkey Trust, continued to own the team until Henry purchased it in 2002.
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"It is important to separate the unfortunate and undeniable history of the Red Sox with regards to race and integration from the incredible charitable work the Yawkey Foundation has accomplished in this millennium and over the last 16 years," the team said in a statement Wednesday.
"We are deeply disappointed that Red Sox and Boston Globe owner John Henry has petitioned ... to rename Yawkey Way, an action based on a false narrative about Tom Yawkey and his record as the team's owner," the Yawkey Foundation said in a statement.
The office of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says that the city's Public Improvement Commission handles requests to change street names and is expected to hold a hearing on the petition on March 15.
"We urge the commission to consider all the facts concerning Tom Yawkey's ownership of the Red Sox and the sweep of his life, and recognize that although Yawkey Way is a public street owned by the city, it has become as much a part of the history of Fenway Park as the Green Monster and Pesky's Pole," the Yawkey Foundation argued. "We are confident that if it does so, it will reject Henry's petition."
Long accused of racism, Yawkey owned the Red Sox during the period when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Boston became the last team to sign an African-American player. After passing on Hall of Famers like Robinson and Willie Mays, they added Pumpsie Green in 1959.
Green played four seasons for the Red Sox, and one with the Mets, before retiring in 1963.