BOSTON (CBS) — It appears the wheels are in motion for a big change outside of Fenway Park.
The Red Sox filed a petition with the City of Boston on Wednesday to change the name of Yawkey Way. The street would go back to Jersey Street, which it was a continuation of before it was renamed Yawkey Way back in 1977.
The team issued the following statement on Wednesday:
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.
Red Sox principal owner John Henry said back in August that the organization hopes to change the name of the famous street due to the history of racism associated with previous owner Tom Yawkey.
“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,” Henry told The Boston Herald in 2017.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s office said Walsh was “supportive” of the change last August.
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.
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 city renamed a stretch of the road David Ortiz Drive last summer in honor of the retired Red Sox designated hitter.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)