Yawkey Way is the former name of a short street located in the Fenway–Kenmore neighborhood of the American city of Boston, Massachusetts. It was originally a continuation of Jersey Street, part of the Back Bay scheme of alphabetical streets, until 1977, when the two blocks immediately adjacent to Fenway Park were renamed for Tom Yawkey, owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1933 to 1976. It ran for two blocks from Brookline Avenue in the north to Boylston Street in the south, where it became Jersey Street.
On August 17, 2017, amid heightened media coverage of the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials in the United States, Red Sox owner John Henry said the team would lead a campaign to change the street name because the team was the last in Major League Baseball to integrate. Henry said, "I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived."
In February 2018, it was announced that the Red Sox filed a petition with the city of Boston to restore Yawkey Way to its original name, Jersey Street. The change was opposed by the Yawkey Foundation, a charitable group funded by Yawkey's estate.
The Boston Public Improvement Commission heard public input on the proposal at its meeting on March 15, from supporters and opponents. The Commission could have voted on the change on March 29; however, after hearing additional input that day, the vote was delayed until April 12. On April 12, a decision was further postponed until April 26.
On June 22, 2017, the neighboring Yawkey Way Extension was renamed David Ortiz Drive in honor of recently retired Red Sox all-star David Ortiz. The honor came a day before Ortiz's number was retired by the team.
In light of his request to change the name of Yawkey Way, some Massachusetts lawmakers have suggested that Henry remove Mr. and Mrs. Yawkey's initials written in morse code from the scoreboard on the left field wall. Newton Democrat Ruth Balser, co-sponsor of a bill to study the renaming of nearby Yawkey station, said, "I would hope that the Red Sox organization would consider that, as they consider supporting a change to the street." In an August 2017 email, Red Sox spokesperson Zineb Curran wrote about removing the initials, "Our current efforts are focused on petitioning the city to change the street name."
In April 2018, when reverting the Yawkey Way name to Jersey Street was approved, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) stated that it will also rename the nearby Yawkey station. On March 28, 2019, the MBTA announced that the station would be renamed Lansdowne station (after nearby Lansdowne Street, which runs along the back of the Green Monster on the opposite side of Fenway Park from Jersey Street) effective April 8.
- DeCosta-Klipa, Nik (April 26, 2018). "Where does the name Jersey Street come from?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- "Jersey St. now Yawkey Way". The Berkshire Eagle. UPI. March 4, 1977. Retrieved August 19, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- Kinsley, Bob (January 25, 1977). "THE SPORTS LOG". The Boston Globe. p. 20. Retrieved March 18, 2018 – via pqarchiver.com.
Jersey street, which fronts the main entrance to Fenway Park, has been renamed Yawkey Way by the city's Public Improvement Commission to honor the late Red Sox owner
- "City panel votes unanimously to rename Yawkey Way". The Boston Globe. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- "So long Yawkey Way! Boston officially changes name of street outside Fenway Park". WCVB-TV. May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2018.
- Silverman, Michael (August 18, 2017). "'Haunted' by past owner's history, Red Sox seek name change for Yawkey Way". Boston Herald. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
Red Sox principal owner John Henry, saying he’s still “haunted” by the racist legacy of his legendary predecessor Tom Yawkey, told the Herald that his franchise welcomes renaming Yawkey Way. The Sox, he said, should take the lead in the process of rebranding the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was renamed to honor the former owner in 1977.
- "Apply Now for Tickets for Series". The Boston Post. September 24, 1916. Retrieved August 19, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
- Walker, Adrian (7 December 2015). "It's time to banish the racist legacy of Tom Yawkey". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
- Browne, Ian (August 17, 2017). "Red Sox want to change Yawkey Way name". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
- Chavez, Chris (August 17, 2017). "John Henry Says Red Sox Will Lead Effort To Re-Name Yawkey Way". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
- Yang, Nicole (February 28, 2018). "Red Sox file petition to officially change name of Yawkey Way". The Boston Globe. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Silverman, Michael (February 28, 2018). "Red Sox ask city to change Yawkey Way name to Jersey Street". Boston Herald. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
- Valencia, Milton J. (March 15, 2018). "Effort to rename Yawkey Way met with passionate pleas from both sides". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
- Atkinson, Dan (March 29, 2018). "Vote on Yawkey Way name change delayed until April 12". Boston Herald. Retrieved March 29, 2018.
- Sweet, Laurel J. (April 12, 2018). "Red Sox seek delay on Yawkey Way name change". Boston Herald. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- "Committee Unanimously Approves Yawkey Way Name Change". CBS Boston. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
- "Boston renames street after retired slugger David Ortiz". ESPN. Associated Press. June 22, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- Stout, Matt (August 31, 2017). "'No rush to erase Yawkey imprint from scoreboard; Boston Herald". Boston Herald. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
- "MBTA Announces Yawkey Station on Framingham/Worcester Line Will Be Renamed Lansdowne" (Press release). Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. March 28, 2019.
- Lucas, Peter (May 8, 2018). "Jersey Street has its own dark past". Boston Herald. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Smith, Tovia (April 26, 2018). "Boston Changes 'Yawkey Way' To 'Jersey Street' After Concerns Over Racist Legacy". NPR. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- "Setting the Record Straight". yawkeyfoundation.org. 2017. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
The Globe's characterizations of Tom Yawkey, presented as a generally accepted viewpoint at a time when its publisher is seeking to rename Yawkey Way, are a prime example of why it is important to look behind perceptions to see what is fact and what is fiction.
- "Yawkey Foundations Statement" (PDF). yawkeyfoundation.org. April 26, 2018. Retrieved April 26, 2018.
This a sad day for all of us at the Foundations. Tom Yawkey deserved to have his name live on at Fenway Park. We can’t change today’s decision, but we remain hopeful that he will be remembered as the good and decent man he truly was.
- Information about Fenway Park and gates on Yawkey Way
- Yawkey Way on Google Maps
- David Ortiz Drive on Google Maps