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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 01:35 am
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lobo316
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In the wake of last weekend's events in Charlottesville and controversy over the removal of Confederate statues, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry has decided to take a stand with regard to his own team's sordid past.

Henry believes it's time to change the name of Yawkey Way - a public street behind Fenway Park named for longtime Red Sox owner and Hall of Famer Tom Yawkey - due to Yawkey's well-known racism. Henry said he's "haunted" by Yawkey's views, and expects the Red Sox to lead the push to rename the street.

"We ought to be able to lead the effort and if others in the community favor a change, we would welcome it - particularly in light of the country's current leadership stance with regard to intolerance," Henry told Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
Henry added that he does not wish for the team to use this as a way to run from its history and hide its mistakes; rather, he believes it's simply the right time.

Renaming the street is not something that the Red Sox control in any way, according to Silverman. In order to change the name, all those who own property with an address on the street would have to petition the city of Boston together. That would include the Red Sox (Fenway Park's address is 4 Yawkey Way) and the owners of several shops across from the park.

Tom Yawkey bought the Red Sox in 1933 and owned the club until his death in 1976, when the "Yawkey Trust," led in part by his widow Jean, took control. Henry bought the Red Sox from the Yawkey trust before the 2002 season.

Under Tom Yawkey's leadership, the Red Sox renovated Fenway and the iconic Green Monster was erected in left field. But his legacy as an owner has always been tinged by racism. The Red Sox were the last team to integrate their roster, only doing so in 1959 - some 12 years after Jackie Robinson had played his first game.

Robinson was one of three African-American players Yawkey and the Red Sox brought in for a tryout in April 1945, though it was quickly perceived as a sham rather than a genuine opportunity. According to an article on the tryout by Slate's Seth Maxon, someone shouted a racial slur at the three men from Fenway's stands.
"We knew we were wasting our time," Robinson told the Boston Globe in 1972.
Pumpsie Green, who went on to play five years in the majors with the Red Sox and Mets, became the first African-American Red Sox player when he entered as a pinch runner on July 21, 1959.

Fenway Park has not been immune to racism more recently. On May 1, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones alleges that Red Sox fans taunted him with racial slurs and threw a bag of peanuts at him during that night's game.
The following evening, Red Sox fans gave Jones a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat.

Last edited on Fri Aug 18th, 2017 01:36 am by lobo316

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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 01:57 am
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Blazer
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This is a little much, but you're vilified in the media if you say that. Lets take down every statue, sign or other structure if someone may be "offended" all of a sudden about something that happened 70 years ago. That street sign has nothing to do with racisim and 100% to do with baseball.



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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 01:58 am
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Blazer
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I'd love to get a take on this from a New Englander though. I'm on the outside looking in.



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"Well, maybe I like the nightlife just a little bit more than I like the damn gym, jack! And when you're makin' $500,000 a year, there ain't no reason to change what you're doing." - Dusty Rhodes, 1/4/1986
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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 03:20 am
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LAF



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LOL @ "I'm haunted by this." Imagine the ghost of Yawkey showing up while he sleeps to laugh about the Negro Leagues.

I'm curious who it gets named after then. Can't name it after Curt Schilling! Does he name it after himself? Jim Rice? I guess that one would please all the offended.

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 Posted: Fri Aug 18th, 2017 05:54 am
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srossi

 

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How long before Ty Cobb is kicked out of the HOF?



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 Posted: Sat Aug 19th, 2017 12:54 am
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lobo316
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Yawkey Foundations - the charity organization founded posthumously by former Boston Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey - said in a statement Thursday they are disheartened their founders are being linked to political controversy amid the club's current plans to remove the Yawkey name from the street surrounding Fenway Park.

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.

The foundation did not specify which controversies their founders are being linked to, though current Red Sox owner John Henry said Thursday the team would welcome removing Yawkey's name from "Yawkey Way" due in part to "the country's current leadership stance with regard to intolerance," referencing the protesting of Confederate-era statues in the United States.

Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1903 until his death in 1976, though his legacy is blemished by widespread accusations of racism. After Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the Red Sox would take another 12 years to do so themselves, becoming the last team in Major League Baseball to officially integrate their roster.

Along with Henry's push to rename the road, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy added Thursday that input from the surrounding community also contributed to the decision to potentially drop Yawkey's name.

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 Posted: Sat Aug 19th, 2017 07:58 pm
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glc

 

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I have heard that Yawkey's reluctance to integrate was not of his own personal beliefs, but rather how he perceived the Red Sox FANS would react. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but it is known that African-American players have traditionally had a tough time in Boston.

Fwiw, the Yankees didn't integrate until 1955. It can be argued that was due to the composition of their fan base, too.

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 Posted: Wed Aug 23rd, 2017 02:16 am
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Ultimark



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Boston is an interesting place. It was the most racist city in the north by a large margin. A lot of reasons for that so Yawkey's reluctance has merit. In the end, the Red Sox were integrated and they had plenty of black and latino players. In the 80's there was a controversy regarding white only Red Sox players who were allowed to join a certain country club. By then, Yawkey was dead.

They really should leave this one alone.

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