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The Boston Herald

 

The Red Sox have still not settled on a new name for Yawkey Way, but they have cleared a more important hurdle: the other two abutters on the street agree with the ballclub that it's time for Yawkey's name to come down.

"We have had discussions with the D'Angelos and Steve Samuels and both were very supportive of the idea to petition to change the name," said Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy last week. "We've talked to City Hall and now we are in the process of coming up with a name that we're going to petition for.

"We're having internal conversations about the new name."

One hundred percent agreement by the abutters on a new name is required by the City of Boston in order for a street name to be changed. No consensus within the Red Sox organization on a new name has been reached yet, said Kennedy. When it is reached, the club would then bring it to the D'Angelo family, which owns multiple parcels on Yawkey Way, and Samuels, who owns the Tasty Burger lot (that parcel has its primary address on Boylston Street, but the city still wants it included in the process), to agree with them on the new name.

Once the three abutters are in agreement on a new street name that they want to petition for, the Red Sox will reach out to neighbors around Fenway Park, as well as their city councilor, Josh Zakim, before formally bringing the petition to the city's Public Improvement Commission.

Kennedy hopes the petition can be finalized by the end of this month.

"I would anticipate that occurring in a matter of weeks," said Kennedy. "It's happening."

Red Sox owner John Henry told the Herald last month that he had decided it was time to take down the name of the Red Sox' former owner, Tom Yawkey, from the public street where the team does business because of the legacy of racism from the Yawkey ownership era.

The Red Sox were the last team in baseball to integrate, needing 12 years to sign a black player after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.

Related: Red Sox to Remove Racism Reminder Outside Ballpark

Pumpsie Green was called up midway through the 1959 season.

Henry and the other owners needed 15 years after buying the team in 2002, before deciding the time was right for the change, with Henry saying, "I am still haunted by what went on here a long time before we arrived.

"We ought to be able to lead the effort 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."

Kennedy said that when he approached Samuels about the change, Samuels was quick to say yes.

"'I think it's about time - I commend you guys for being proactive on this,'" Kennedy recalled Samuels telling him.

Bobby D'Angelo, one of the sons of Arthur D'Angelo, the founder of '47 Brands (formerly Twins Enterprises) already voiced his readiness for a new street name last month.

He's still on board.

"Actions do speak louder than words sometimes," said Bobby D'Angelo last week. "Pumpsie Green, 1959? You can't be that naive to understand what that means and that for Tom Yawkey, that was not the right thing to do."

The D'Angelo family was not consulted by the Red Sox or the city in 1977 when the portion of Jersey Street that fronts their business and the Red Sox ballpark was renamed for Yawkey, who died in 1976.

This time, they will be involved in the process of choosing a new name.

"I endorse anything the Red Sox want to do," said Bobby D'Angelo. "I'm not against change. I'm OK with whatever they want to do. They'll talk to me about the name and I will be on board, because I'm not supportive of Tom Yawkey. If there's a change, you have to stand up for change."

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September 11, 2017
 
 
 

 

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