At around 6:50 on July 9, 1976, iconic sportscaster Don Gillis, almost overcome with sadness, broke the news of Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey’s death. “I find this news very difficult to read”, he stated. His reaction was typical of many announcers, writers and fans.
TY had no funeral. His body was cremated, and, rumor has it, his ashes were sprinkled over Fenway Park. As Howard Bryant wrote in his fine book Shut Out, there would be no sweepting Yawkey biography”
Let’s put aside Yawkey’s enigmatic racism, which is well documented in many books and articles, along with his cronyism and, at times, heavy drinking.
Hall of Fame sportswriter Bob Ryan characterizes Yawkey as an unremarkable, charitable man, who was very comfortable with the way things were.” The latter part of the quote is more important.
Glenn Stout, in a section of his sweeping Red Sox Century, describes the aftermath of Yawkey’s death, and refutes the idea of a generous owner who tried and failed to win a championship.”
All of Boston eulogized him like a native son…..There was a deep and generous outpouring of emotion from most fans, players, and those close to the club. Those who knew him personally experienced a huge sense of loss.”
Players mourned him as a member of the family, a surrogate father. Yaz was visibly shaken…the owner and player often met after games and talked into the night. ” However, this led to the feeling-right or not- that Carl was undermining his manager.”
(Part 2 tomorrow)