Changing street name in Boston won’t erase racist history, but it’s a start

Changing street name in Boston won't erase racist history, but it's a start
(Photo source: Twitter – @RedSox) The Baltimore Orioles are on the road against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park.

You can’t change history.

For decades, the Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball have honored the late Tom Yawkey. Yawkey was the longest-running owner of a team with the Red Sox for 42 years until his death in 1976. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. There’s a street named after him outside of Fenway Park called “Yawkey Way.” He was also racist.

In April 1945, the Red Sox held a tryout for three Negre League players. Jackie Robinson, Sam Jethroe, and Marvin Williams all worked out for the team with a desire to integrate Major League Baseball. According to Howard Bryant’s “Shut Out,” near the end of the tryout, a voice believed to be Yawkey’s yelled out “Get those n—ers off the field!” Needless to say, none of the players from the trio were signed. Jethroe eventually became the first Black player for Boston’s other baseball team, the Braves, and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 1950, per Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker. Robinson, of course, became, well, Robinson.

Yawkey was so racist, he didn’t even sign Willie Mays, one of the greatest players in the history of the game. A disappointed Mays would always tell Red Sox great and fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams that the two should’ve played together.

The signing of Pumpsie Green in 1959 made the Red Sox the last team in baseball to sign a Black player.

Current Red Sox owner John Henry said that he’s finally ready to change the street name amid the current political climate. The sign for Yawkey Way should go in the Red Sox team museum, so future fans can see it for themselves and read why it was taken down from the street.

Changing the street name doesn’t change the fact 1985-1991 Patriots lineman Garin Veris was called the N-word for the first time in his life as a grown man in Boston. It doesn’t change the fact that even city icon Bill Russell called it a “flea market of racism” in his 1979 book. It doesn’t change the fact that Black hockey player Joel Ward was called the N-word after he scored a game-winning goal against the Bruins in 2012. It doesn’t change the fact that Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was called the N-word in the same park three months ago.

Changing the name of the street, however, is one step in the right direction for a better future.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

What's new

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter

Get notified about new articles