John Henry told the Boston Herald Thursday that he hopes Yawkey Way can be renamed to remove a name with a racist legacy.
“I discussed this a number of times with the previous mayoral administration and they did not want to open what they saw as a can of worms,” Henry told Michael Silverman. “There are a number of buildings and institutions that bear the same name. The sale of the Red Sox by John Harrington helped to fund a number of very good works in the city done by the Yawkey Foundation (we had no control over where any monies were spent). The Yawkey Foundation has done a lot of great things over the years that have nothing to do with our history.”
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Added Henry: “The Red Sox don’t control the naming or renaming of streets. But for me, personally, the street name has always been a consistent reminder that it is our job to ensure the Red Sox are not just multi-cultural, but stand for as many of the right things in our community as we can -- particularly in our African-American community and in the Dominican community that has embraced us so fully. The Red Sox Foundation and other organizations the Sox created such as Home Base have accomplished a lot over the last 15 years, but I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.”
According to Silverman, Henry would like the street to be called “David Ortiz Way” or “Big Papi Way.”
The street was named after Tom Yawkey in 1977. Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976. Under his ownership, the Red Sox were the last major league team to play a black player, 12 years after Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers.