August 17, 2017

PUMPSIE WAY:

Let the people of Boston decide the fate of Yawkey Way (Dan Wetzel, 8/17/17, Yahoo Sports)

The Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, in 1959, a full 12 seasons after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in Brooklyn. Yawkey was so opposed to employing a black player, he chose, for a dozen seasons, to run his team at a decided competitive disadvantage. He demonstrably cared more about having an all-white team than winning.

He actually could have signed Robinson. In 1945, Boston politicians forced the Red Sox to have a tryout for African-American players under threat that they wouldn't allow games to be played on Sunday. Robinson was one of three players brought to a sham of a workout. Robinson impressed the assembled media and some scouts, but never stood a chance with Yawkey.

Instead, Robinson soon signed a minor-league deal with Brooklyn, joined the majors a season later and went on to an iconic, Hall of Fame career. Pair him with Williams in the middle of the late 1940s Red Sox lineup, and perhaps that Red Sox World Series drought ends six decades earlier.

John Henry is a great baseball owner. In 2002 he bought the Sox from the Yawkey Trust and has delivered three World Series titles, a modernized Fenway Park and a complete overhaul in the team's racial progressiveness.

Yet he can't get over that in 1977, the City of Boston honored the then-recently deceased Yawkey by renaming a tight sliver of a street that runs along the left field line outside Fenway after him. Yawkey Way has been its name ever since. These days, during the season, it is shut down and used as a pregame fan gathering, drinking and dining spot.

"Haunted," Henry said in an email to the Boston Herald, citing Yawkey's racism.

And he'd like to see the street name changed to something else. The Red Sox don't own the street. The city does, so it's not an organizational decision. Henry said city politicians have rebuffed him in the past because they didn't want to "open a can of worms."

After incidents and a terrorist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, and "in light of the country's current leadership stance with regard to intolerance," Henry said he is going to try to open that can all by himself. Here's a billionaire businessman going after Donald Trump via Tom Yawkey Way.

Posted by at August 17, 2017 11:25 PM

  

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