Wave goodbye to the past; moving on to…the past? Red Sox file a petition to the City of Boston to change Yawkey Way’s name back to Jersey Street.
We all know the reputation that Boston holds when it comes to the topic of racism. Unfortunate, because being of Cuban decent I love Boston. I would live there for the rest of my life if I could. The people of Boston have been about as open armed and welcoming every single time I have gone. To call the City of Boston racist as a whole is the incorrect take. The fact is, racism still exists everywhere in this country, and it is something that needs to be acknowledged. With the most recent story that came to surface in 2017, when Adam Jones was subjected to racial slurs while manning center field. To reiterate, baseball is an all-encompassing, multi cultural sport, and a celebration of many cultures coming together to play the greatest game ever.
How Does Yawkey Fit into This?
So where does Yawkey Way, or more specifically Tom Yawkey, come into play here? Well a background check on Tom Yawkey will reveal that his reputation is extensively shrouded in controversy and discrimination. Coined by Jackie Robinson (who got turned down by the Red Sox after a tryout in 1945) as “one of the most bigoted guys in baseball”.
The Red Sox at the helm of Yawkey were the last Major League team to integrate, when they promoted their first African-American player by the name of Pumpsie Green. Granted, at one point all teams were non-integrated and this was considered “the norm”. However, the fact that Yawkey deliberated for so long to include African-Americans into his Major League team says a lot. Thus, naming a street after himself in 1977 truly coincides with Robinson’s view on the former owner. He was a discriminate, egotistic, selfish person. He should be used as an example of how not to treat others in everyday life, let alone the sports world.
Photo Credit: Getty Images (2013)
The Red Sox have petitioned to change the name back to Jersey Street, which is what the famous street was called before Yawkey Way. To be honest, I’m not so sure of this move. Not changing it from Yawkey Way, but changing it back to a street name that was there since John I. Taylor bought the grounds in 1911 is not much of an improvement. In other words, the name Jersey Street was around for 66 years, and at least 54 of those years were during America’s segregation period. In a way, it also represents discrimination in a way that the name Yawkey Way has.
Possible Replacement Names
I have thought about this for a while and have come across great replacements for the street name. But I (as well as Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports) cannot think of a better way to honor the Red Sox and Fenway Park than to name the street after Ted Williams, who took a break during the prime of his baseball career to serve in WWII and the Korean War. Williams, a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is the best player the club has seen in its 110 year history. He’s a true legend of the game. Looking at the bigger picture rather than the game of baseball, he fought for our country, our freedom and our honor. In short, to have a tunnel named after him simply isn’t enough. It is something that should have been done decades ago rather than now.
This is not the be-all and end-all decision that will wipe racism from this country forever. However, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Could these fixes be improved further? Absolutely. But that’s the thing- it is important to keep the fight against racism continual and on-going. Also I admit, this move seems like something that the Red Sox were forced to do after the Adam Jones incident occurred. I guess late is better than never. As the famous Martin Luther King Jr. once said “The time is always right to do what is right”. And this is something that should be engraved into, not only Bostonians, but to everyone around the world.