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Tom Yawkey

Owner of the Boston Red Sox
Birth: February 21, 1903
Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker
Death: July 9, 1976
Bostonmarker, Massachusettsmarker
Ownership: 1933 – 1976
Predecessor: J.A. Robert Quinn
Successor: Jean R. Yawkey
Championships: None
General Manager(s): Eddie Collins (1933-1947)
Joe Cronin (1947-1958)
Bucky Harris (1959-1960)
Pinky Higgins (1962-1965)
Dick O'Connell (1965-1976)

Manager(s): Marty McManus (1933)
Bucky Harris (1934)
Joe Cronin (1935-1947)
Joe McCarthy (1948-1950)
Steve O'Neill (1951-1952)
Lou Boudreau (1952-1954)
Pinky Higgins (1955-1959, 1960-1962)
Rudy York (1959)
Billy Jurges (1959-1960)
Del Baker (1960)
Johnny Pesky (1963-1964)
Billy Herman (1964-1966)
Pete Runnels (1966)
Dick Williams (1967-1969)
Eddie Popowski (1969)
Eddie Kasko (1970-1973)
Eddie Popowski (1973)
Darrell Johnson (1974-1976)

Thomas Austin Yawkey, born Thomas Austin (February 21, 1903–July 9, 1976), was an Americanmarker industrialist and Major League Baseball executive. Born in Detroitmarker, Michiganmarker, Yawkey became president of the Boston Red Sox in 1933, and was the sole owner of the team for 44 seasons, longer than anyone in baseball history.

Early life

Yawkey was born Thomas Austin. He was the grandson of lumber and iron magnate William Clyman Yawkey, who agreed in principle to buy the Detroit Tigers in 1903 but died before it closed. The deal was eventually completed by Tom's uncle, Bill Yawkey. After his father died, Tom's uncle adopted him, and he took the Yawkey name.

Bill Yawkey died in 1919, and left his $40 million estate to his adoptive son, but a clause in the will forbade him from taking possession of it until he turned 30 years old. Yawkey was a graduate of the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale Universitymarker.

Successes with the Red Sox

Four days after his 30th birthday, Yawkey bought the Red Sox for $1.2 million on the advice of his longtime friend and former classmate, Eddie Collins.

The Red Sox had been the dregs of the American League for more than a decade since the infamous Babe Ruth transaction, and had just come off a dreadful 111-loss season which is still the worst in franchise history. Yawkey hired Collins as general manager with instructions to buy up as much talent as possible to turn the team around. He also heavily renovated Fenway Parkmarker, which had fallen into disrepair over the years.

Yawkey devoted his time and finances for the rest of his life to building winning teams. His teams' best seasons occurred in 1946, 1967 and 1975 when the Red Sox captured the American League pennant, and then went on to lose each World Series in seven games against the St. Louis Cardinals (1946, 1967) and Cincinnati Reds (1975). He would never achieve his ultimate goal of winning a World Series championship.

Charges of racism

Yawkey has been accused of being a racist for his apparent reluctance to employ African American players with the Red Sox, including passing on signing Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson. It was not until 1959 that the Red Sox became the last Major League team to field an African American player (Pumpsie Green), 12 years after Robinson's rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers (and almost three years after Robinson's retirement in 1956). Even after integrating, racism was believed to play a role in moves made by the Red Sox, notably the trade of star outfielder Reggie Smith in 1973. During that period, the Red Sox went from being a perennial contender to failing to finish within 10 games of first place for 17 years (1950–1966).


Yawkey was a generous and popular man and proved a strong voice in major league councils. He also served as American League vice president between 1956 and 1973. He died in Boston; his wife, Jean R. Yawkey, became president of the club following his death. The street in Boston that Fenway Parkmarker is on, Jersey Street, was renamed Yawkey Way in his honor.

A chain of islands off the coast of Georgetown, South Carolinamarker make up the Yawkey Heritage Preserve, a nature preserve formed from land willed to the DNR by Tom Yawkey. It consists of North and South Islands and a majority of Cat Island.

There is also an amateur baseball league associated with Tom Yawkey located in Boston Massachusetts. It is the Thomas A. Yawkey Baseball League. Yawkey League baseball

Tom Yawkey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Famemarker in 1980.
Tom Yawkey with his wife Jean Yawkey


See also

External links

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