This Day in Baseball History: February 26th, 1992

60 years is a long time to own a team, but I would own a team for that long if I had the money.

On February 26, 1992:

Red Sox owner Jean Yawkey passed away from a stroke.

Thomas Austin Yawkey was actually born as Thomas Austin on February 21, 1903, but he would be adopted by his uncle when his father died. Tom Yawkey inherited his uncle’s $40 million estate, but he couldn’t touch it until his 30th birthday. When he did get a hold of it, he spent it on the Red Sox in 1933. Almost 15 years after the sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees, the Red Sox had been terrible, but Yawkey wanted to reverse that. For the next 43 years, he owned the team. His teams would regain some of the shine they had before Ruth left, but he wouldn’t win the World Series. One of his most important contributions would be renovations on Fenway Park, which had fallen into serious disrepair before his arrival.

He would own the team until his death in 1976, and his wife, Jean, would take over. Jean Hollander, later Jean Yawkey, was born in Long Island and would spend 10 years as a fashion model before marrying Tom Yawkey. She would inherit the team and run it for 16 years until her death in 1992. This would the first time that the Red Sox would be owned by someone other than a Yawkey in the last 60 years, an amazing run for one family ownership. When she died, the team became property of the Yawkey Trust, which would hold onto it for the next 10 years. At that point, the Trust sold it to a group headed by John Henry. Two seasons later, the Red Sox would end the curse the Yawkeys tried so desperately to end for almost 60 years.

The Yawkeys, obviously, left quite a legacy. Jersey Street, the street running alongside Fenway Park was renamed Yawkey Way. Both Tom and Jean’s initials are on the Green Monster in Morse Code. Outside of baseball, the family set up numerous scholarships and a few nature preserves.

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