BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox are asking the city of Boston to change Yawkey Way back to its original name, Jersey Street.
The name has been under fire for years for its connection to what the team’s principal owner has said is the franchise’s complicated racial past under former owner Tom Yawkey.
The Red Sox filed the petition Wednesday with the City of Boston Public improvement Commission.
Yawkey Way is the street Fenway Park is on.
Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976 and presided over the last franchise in Major League Baseball to field a black player. That was in 1959, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson played for the Dodgers.
The team said Wednesday in a statement that “restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.”
Philanthropic group Yawkey Foundations calls the move disappointing, saying “Yawkey treated every player the same, regardless of their race.” The group urges the commission to reject the proposal.
Yawkey died in 1976. The street was named for him in 1977. The city renamed a stretch of the road David Ortiz Drive last summer in honor of the retired Red Sox designated hitter.
You can see the team’s full statement below.
“The Red Sox, with the approval and cooperation of all abutters on Yawkey Way, have filed a petition with the City of Boston Public Improvement Commission requesting that the Yawkey Way street name be restored to its original Jersey Street name. Restoring the Jersey Street name is intended to reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.
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 positive impact they have had, and continue to have, in hospitals, on education programs, and with underserved communities throughout Boston and New England, is admirable and enduring. We have the utmost respect for their mission, leadership, and the institutions they support.
We appreciate the partnership of the other property owners, and the consideration of city on this important matter.”
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