David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox file petition to change name of Yawkey Way

Alex Reimer
February 28, 2018 - 4:46 pm

The Red Sox filed a petition Wednesday with the Boston Public Improvement Commission to restore the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street, roughly six months after principal owner John Henry publicly advocated for the name change.

In a statement, the Red Sox announced they received approval from all of the three other abutters on Yawkey Way. The roadway, which leads to Fenway Park, was called “Jersey Street” until its name was changed in 1977 to honor ex-owner Tom Yawkey. 

"Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all,” the statement reads.

Last August, Henry told the Herald’s Michael Silverman he was “haunted” by Yawkey’s racist legacy. The Red Sox were the last team to integrate under his ownership, not signing an African-American player until Pumpsie Green in 1959. Before then, the club passed up opportunities to sign Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. 

Most major figures around Boston, including Mayor Marty Walsh, have expressed support for the name change. The Yawkey Foundation, which Yawkey bequest in his will, responded with a strongly worded statement of its own Wednesday.

"We are deeply disappointed that Red Sox and Boston Globe owner John Henry has petitioned the Public Improvement Commission to rename Yawkey Way, an action based on a false narrative about Tom Yawkey and his record as team owner," it reads.

The Red Sox dealt with a couple of racial incidents at Fenway Park last season. In May, Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said fans were shouting racist epithets at him. The following night, the organization banned a fan for life after he used a racial slur when talking to another person in the stands.