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Owner Henry: Red Sox Welcome Renaming Yawkey Way

Fans wait in security lines on Yawkey Way to get into Fenway Park on Red Sox 2016 Opening Day. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
Fans wait in security lines on Yawkey Way to get into Fenway Park on Red Sox 2016 Opening Day. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
This article is more than 2 years old.

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry says he supports the idea of renaming Yawkey Way outside of Fenway Park.

Henry told The Boston Herald in an email that he remains "haunted" by the racist past of the team under former owner Tom Yawkey.

Yawkey was the owner for decades, and the Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate.

Henry told the Herald the time is right to make the change and have a conversation on race.

A team spokesman confirmed to WBUR Henry's stance, and a City Hall spokeswoman said Mayor Marty Walsh is supportive of the change.

Any change to the public street would require approval of abutters and the city.

“We ought to be able to lead the [name change] effort," Henry said in his email to the Herald, "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 the Herald that the charitable Yawkey Foundations "has done a lot of great things over the years."

In a statement, the Yawkey Foundations said it is "disheartened by any effort to embroil them in today’s political controversy."

"Jean and Tom Yawkey’s philanthropy, which has contributed more than $450 million – most of it to the Boston community – has always been color blind," the statement said. "We are honored to have the Yawkey name on so many organizations and institutions that benefit Bostonians of all races."

On game days, the Red Sox close Yawkey Way to public access and sell concessions. Henry said he'd like to see the street renamed “David Ortiz Way” or “Big Papi Way.”

With reporting by WBUR's Benjamin Swasey

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