The debate has surged since last season where the social and political climate had been growing to a new level of toxicity for the 21st century.
Racism was beginning to show its true colors once again in the United States and whether that is due to a President who seems to allow it is a separate discussion.
A racist legacy has surrounded the Boston Red Sox more than any other team in Major League Baseball and that is in part due to its previous owner, Tom Yawkey.
Although Tom Yawkey’s legacy does hold some beautiful pieces, there are dark allies that if ventured down, could alter your opinion on the former Red Sox owner. His past is something that could be seen as immaculate. He helped mold the Jimmy Fund, an incredible foundation, into what it is today. He was known for rescuing orphans and changing their lives for the better. But on the other side of his biography lives a life of racism which stems all the way back to the days of Jackie Robinson.
While teams in the MLB were finally allowing African-Americans to sign onto their rosters, the Red Sox continued to send out an all-white team year after year.
And now 16 years after John Henry had purchased the Boston Red Sox, the team has filed a petition to the city of Boston to have the name of Yawkey Way changed back to its original name, Jersey Street.
Since the debate on whether or not this change should occur opened its doors last season, it seems as though the main focal point of the argument has had to do with Yawkey’s racist past. And while that is something to take note of, there is something else that Yawkey had done that in my eyes is enough to have the name reverted back to what it was prior.
Tom Yawkey had a man working for the organization who he had brought in when he was just 15 years old. His name was Donald Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick was an orphan.
Tom Yawkey and his wife had opened up a home for disadvantaged boys named Tara Hall in Georgetown, South Carolina. But according to an article on thepostgame.com, they would first mold the boys at Fenway Park. And this is where Yawkey, who had rescued Fitzpatrick, stuck the boy at just 15 years old working various jobs.
Fitzpatrick had then grown up in the Red Sox organization, but there was something dark and malevolent being discovered about the boy who was turning into a man. He had a delectation for young boys. Specifically, he had a delectation for young, black boys.
According to the article that I refer to above, as Fitzpatrick’s odd “gravitation” toward young boys became apparent, Tom Yawkey would protect him and even after Yawkey passed away in 1976, his wife had continued to employ the child predator which concerned players and workers alike.
There are reports of players telling young boys, especially young African boys to stay away from Fitzpatrick.
There are a variety of stories that relate back to Fitzpatrick’s evil tendencies including one where a victim had filed a complaint with the then Red Sox clubhouse manager, Vince Orlando, about Fitzpatrick abusing him for the previous three seasons. Orlando proceeded to fire the boy after he filed that complaint, retaining Fitzpatrick.
Also according to the same article that I referred to above, a Red Sox player had caught Fitzpatrick sodomizing a boy in the shower and reported it to the team. The Red Sox still continued to employ Fitzpatrick with, as far as I know, no repercussion.
I won’t dive deeper into these stories because quite frankly they turn my stomach. The fact that someone was able to maintain their employment while committing such horrific and vile acts is a disgrace.
Tom Yawkey, while once again, doing some impeccable things for children through his life, does not deserve to have his name forever enshrined by an entire street next to Fenway Park solely because of his negligence.
This wasn’t something that was hidden. This isn’t something where people can say, “These are just allegations”. There is no way around this. Donald Fitzpatrick admitted to these acts in court and Tom Yawkey knew all along and protected him.
Tom Yawkey was a very powerful man. He was the owner of one of the most storied franchises in all of sports, not just baseball. But he did something so disgraceful that I would be ashamed as a fan of the Boston Red Sox if Yawkey Way were to continue to be the name of the street adjacent to Fenway Park.
I see this story as something that is getting brushed beneath the rug. Everybody is raising the topic of racism in America which is great. That is something that needs to be discussed and brought to the forefront of conversation because whether or not people want to believe it, racism is still prevalent in our society.
And when I say that racism is still prevalent I am not pointing any fingers toward Boston or Massachusetts as a whole because quite frankly, I don’t believe that stigma that has been labeled on the city. My personal belief is that modern-day Boston has been slandered and spit on with this disgusting label because of social media and quite frankly, a lack of actually visiting the city. But that’s here nor there.
But again, racism is the main topic of discussion in today’s political world so therefore, people are going to focus solely on that topic when discussing whether or not Tom Yawkey’s name should be wiped away from the street.
The part that is unbearable to me though is everything that I mentioned above. His ability to protect a man who has case after case against him in child molestation is something that makes me sick. This is a reason alone why Tom Yawkey’s name should be wiped away from the street.
And I want to keep honing in on the street because if they want to put a plaque somewhere or keep the brail on the Green Monster wall out in left, then go for it. The fact of the matter is though that Yawkey Way is a prevalent piece of visiting Fenway Park. That’s the street you’re trying to find as you approach the ballpark. That’s the street that you show your kids. But ask yourselves this; do you want to tell your kid what kind of a person Tom Yawkey really was? A man who protected a child predator from the time he met him at age 15 until he passed?
-Nick Quaglia (@NickQuag)