Banned in Boston soon claims another victim.
Should the city of Boston redact former Red Sox owner Thomas Yawkey’s last name from street signs roughly parallel to the third-base line of Fenway Park, the state of Massachusetts intends to erase him from a commuter-rail station near Kenmore Square the way witches, H.L. Mencken’s magazine, and Voltaire’s Candide once disappeared at the hands of the locals.
“MassDOT would follow the lead of the City of Boston in the renaming of Yawkey Station as Yawkey Station is named after the street,” Jacquelyn Goddard, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, divulged in a statement on Tuesday.
The likely move comes despite hundreds of millions of dollars in Yawkey money financing local charities. Critics of the owner of the team from 1933 to his death in 1976 note that his franchise signed an African American player after every other Major League Baseball team did.
Boston re-christened a short section of Jersey Street “Yawkey Way” in 1977 in honor of the Detroit-born industrialist, whose wife Jean carried on as owner of the team until her death in 1992. In a widely-criticized deal, Boston ceded rights to Yawkey Way to the Red Sox in 2002 for whenever the park hosts events. Already enjoying rights to a public street for private profit, the Red Sox now push hard to change the street’s name four decades after initially pushing to change the street’s name.
The most famous memorial to the Yawkeys in Boston—the morse code spelling out the two owners’ initials on the Green Monster—remains the one marker within the power of the Boston Red Sox to change. It curiously remains.