Kepner: Tom Yawkey, the Red Sox owner who resisted integration

From SABR member Tyler Kepner at the New York Times on August 18, 2017, with mention of SABR member Jay Jaffe:

White vertical lines frame the first column of out-of-town scores on the famous left-field wall at Fenway Park. For decades, a series of dots and dashes have been embedded within those lines, a cryptic memorial hiding in plain sight.

The symbols are the initials, in Morse code, of Thomas A. Yawkey and his wife, Jean R. Yawkey. Thomas Yawkey owned the team from 1933 until his death in 1976, and Jean Yawkey retained partial or majority ownership until her death 16 years later. The Yawkey Trust owned the team until a group led by John Henry bought it in 2002.

Now Henry wants the city of Boston to rename Yawkey Way, which borders Fenway Park along the third-base side and gives the place its mailing address. Henry told The Boston Herald he was “haunted” by the history of racism under Yawkey’s ownership.

The Red Sox were the final team to integrate, promoting infielder Pumpsie Green to the majors in 1959. That was a dozen years after Jackie Robinson had joined the Brooklyn Dodgers, and nine after Sam Jethroe had joined the Boston Braves and won the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award.

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Originally published: August 21, 2017. Last Updated: August 21, 2017.