BOSTON (CBS) – Yawkey Way has become synonymous with Red Sox greatness.
“I think of all the World Series that have been won here and the history that happens on this street,” said Jason Anderson, a baseball tourist.
Owner John Henry wants to change the name that is also associated with some of the Sox segregated times.
“I think if there’s anyone in the community uncomfortable because of a symbol or a reminder of the past it’s incumbent on us to examine the issue,” said Sam Kennedy, Red Sox President and CEO.
In the 40’s and 50’s Major League Baseball was integrating. The Red Sox under former owner Tom Yawkey was the last to do so.
“That was a long time ago and he changed,” said Red Sox legend Rico Petrocelli.
Petrocelli wore the Red Sox uniform his entire career. “Why change it. Mr. Yawkey was a good owner. I played under him. He was a terrific guy,” said Petrocelli.
What the name represents now is still in play.
“I’d say you want to keep it Yawkey Way. It’s like Fenway Park all the history here,” said Red Sox fan Jonathan Parker.
“There have always been some talk of Yawkey being racist behind the scenes, but now all this business with Virginia. I just think it’s apropos,” said fan Rick Shakalis.
“Yawkey Way is all Red Sox,” Parker said.
“We would miss it. It’s been Yawkey Way for our lifetime, but times have changed. It’s 2017,” said Tom Nastasia.
Mayor Marty Walsh says he supports changing the name. It’s not automatic. Since it is a public street, there is a public process to rename it. John Henry has suggested possible new names such as Big Papi Way or David Ortiz Way.
A spokesperson for the Yawkey Foundation, which has contributed over $450 million to Greater Boston community organizations, said they were “disheartened” by the report:
“Jean and Tom Yawkey’s philanthropy has always been color blind. Their extraordinary generosity has made a significant impact on Massachusetts and the Greater Boston community, contributing more than $450 million to hundreds of non-profit organizations and helping improve the lives of thousands of disadvantaged children of all backgrounds. We are honored to have the Yawkey name on so many organizations and institutions that benefit Bostonians of all races – and disheartened by any effort to embroil the Yawkeys in today’s political controversy.”