Tom Yawkey

From BR Bullpen

Thomas Austin Yawkey

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1980

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Tom Yawkey owned the Boston Red Sox from 1933 until his death in 1976. He was known for spending a lot of money, particularly in the 1930s Depression when other owners were short on money. His clubs regularly finished second to the New York Yankees. Yawkey's Red Sox were criticized for being the last team to have an African-American player, Pumpsie Green in 1959. Upon his death the Red Sox ownership was assumed by the JRY Corporation and his wife Jean Yawkey.

He was the nephew and adopted son of Detroit Tigers owner Bill Yawkey. Tom Yawkey actually inherited partial ownership of the Tigers when his adoptive father died in 1919, but his interest was instantly sold. Tom was a minor at the time and did not gain full control of his multi-million dollar inheritance until the age of 30. The Yawkeys were long-time friends and hunting partners of Ty Cobb.

While Yawkey was inducted into the Hall of Fame posthumously in 1980, history has not been particularly kind to his memory, as a lot of observers blamed him personally for the Red Sox having been so retrograde on the issue of integration and for the consequent two decades of futility which the club endured until its rebirth in 1967 (a year during which a number of African-American players made key contributions, not coincidentally). On the 50th anniversary of that pennant in 2017, current Red Sox owner John Henry said the team was looking into petitioning the city of Boston, MA to rename Tom Yawkey Way, the street which is also the team's corporate address. It was suggested that naming it after revered slugger and civic hero David Ortiz would be a much-needed gesture of inclusion. The petition was officially filed on February 28, 2018. On April 26th Boston's Public Improvement Commission accepted a request to revert the street to its former name, Jersey Street.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Mark Armour: "Tom Yawkey", in Mark Armour and Bill Nowlin, eds.: Red Sox Baseball in the Days of Ike and Elvis: The Red Sox of the 1950s, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 311-318. ISBN 978-1933599243
  • Mark Armour: "Tom Yawkey", in Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan, ed.: '75:The Red Sox Team that Saved Baseball, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 238-243. ISBN 978-1-933599-97-7
  • Scott Gleeson: "Boston's Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park will be renamed due to its racist legacy", USA Today Sports, April 26, 2018. [1]
  • Bob Nightengale: "In erasing Yawkey Way from Fenway Park, Red Sox, Boston seize opportunity from shame", USA Today Sports, April 26, 2018. [2]
  • Bill Nowlin: Tom Yawkey: Patriarch of the Boston Red Sox, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE, 2018. ISBN 978-0-8032-9683-1
  • Tom Schad: "Red Sox petition city of Boston to rename Yawkey Way", USA Today, February 28, 2018. [3]

Related Sites[edit]