The Boston Red Sox may have a new address next season. The team, led by owner John Henry, says they'll petition the city of Boston to rename Yawkey Way, which runs directly in front of historic Fenway Park, because former team owner Tom Yawkey was notoriously resistant to integration.
The move follows closely on the heels of a national discussion about public monuments honoring the Confederacy, a debate that gave rise to a violent clash between white supremacists and Antifa protesters last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Henry told the Boston Globe that he's "haunted" by Yawkey's "racist legacy," and wants the team to do as much as it can to distance it from some of the more unsavory bits of its history. Yawkey, infamously, resisted integrating the Boston Red Sox in the years following World War II, making Boston the last Major League Baseball team to welcome minority ball players. Yawkey even passed up the opportunity to sign some of baseballs greatest players — including Jackie Robinson and Willy Mays — because they were black.
Dumping Yawkey Way won't be easy, though. The Red Sox don't have the authority to change names — only the city of Boston can do that — and since Yawkey Way is the street named on Fenway's official address, there are businesses in the surrounding area that would have to change names as well (though at least one business owner says he'd be open to following suit, if the street name changes).
Since the Yawkey family and its foundation are prominent Boston philanthropists who give millions to various non-profit and community oriented organizations every year, Boston is heavily peppered with libraries, civic theaters, medical centers, and other buildings bearing the Yawkey name. Boston College has a training facility named after the Yawkey family, and the Red Sox give out a yearly "Most Valuable Player" trophy named the "Yawkey Award."
But Henry insists he'll pursue the effort. As for what the new street might be called, well, while they probably won't find the suggestions offensive, baseball enthusiasts might find them at least groan-inducing.
"'David Ortiz Way' or 'Big Papi Way,'" Henry said.