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From the archives | June 20

Tom Yawkey vows to move Red Sox without new stadium

Fenway Park has been home to the Red Sox since 1912.

Joseph Runci/Globe Staff

Fenway Park has been home to the Red Sox since 1912.

Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey revealed Tuesday that he will take his team out of Boston unless a new stadium is constructed.

“This is not a threat,” said Yawkey, “this is a mere statement of fact.

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“I cannot continue indefinitely under present circumstances. I am losing money with the Red Sox and no one -- unless he’s a damn fool -- likes to lose money.”

Yawkey, who is in his 35th year as owner of the Red Sox did not set a specific date when his club would be moved if the stadium isn’t constructed.

But when asked if his club would still be playing in Fenway Park five years from now he answered:

“No.”

Yawkey, in the course of a 60 minute interview, reiterated that he was not making “a veiled threat.”

“We’ve been losing money and sooner or late you come to the realization that it can’t go on forever. There has to be a stop or you’ll be bankrupt. And I don’t intend to bankrupt myself.”

When the reporter asked Yawkey if the stories that he had lost $3 million in the past five years with the Sox were true he answered:

“That’s a very conservative estimate.”

Then he added:

“I don’t care who you are or how much money you have- you can’t lose a million or so each year.”

“Sometimes I wonder why I have continued (to take losses) for as long as I have. Maybe it’s been too long,” he said with a slight smile, “I really don’t know.”

“When I look at it from a business standpoint a man would have to be:

“A. Crazy

“B. Like to lose money

“C. Like to continue to lose more money.”

“And no one -- at least that I know of -- is like that.”

Yawkey, because of his tremendous generosity in all phases of his operation over the years, had built a reputation as a person who doesn’t worry about financial upsets.

This has led some to believe that Yawkey -- no matter what -- would not pull his team out of Boston for financial reasons.

At the same time, it has undoubtedly led some politicians involved in the stadium situation, to feel that Yawkey would never get impatient.

“Maybe,” said Yawkey discussing this line of thought, “these are people who I feel I would wait forever. They probably figure -- what the hell, that guy has all kinds of money.

“But things change, you can only live with a bad situation for so long. I have come to this realization and I hope that Boston does before it’s too late.”

Yawkey then used the withdrawal of the Braves from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953 as an example.

“There was a lot of talk about the Braves leaving before it ever took place, but no one paid any attention. Then suddenly they were gone.

“The ones that suffer the most are the fans of Boston. Personally, I think they are great fans. They support their major sports teams excellently.

“If we go, they are the ones that will lose the most. And this would be the same for the football (Patriots) club. If they left, the fans would be the ones that suffered the most.”

What seems to bother Yawkey -- aside from the financial setbacks -- is the great delay in trying to get a new stadium.

“In the past five years there have been a half dozen new stadiums constructed in the country. In all that time all we’ve done in Boston is talk. I wonder why? Why can those other cities build stadiums and not Boston?

“It might be different if those other cities weren’t getting together and getting stadiums built. But they are -- and we aren’t. So it makes you wonder.”

For as long as he’s owned the Red Sox, Yawkey has been strapped by inadequate parking and limited seating in Fenway Park. These two items are major factors in the Sox losing money over the years.

“With a new stadium,” Yawkey said, “this club would be a financial success. There’s no doubt in my mind.

“Without one, it cannot be. And if I were disposed to sell; or something happening to my health; the person who took over the club would find it almost impossible to exist financially in Fenway Park.

“I can’t say it would be impossible,” says Yawkey with a big smile, “because I don’t know if J. Paul Getty (reputedly the world’s richest man) might be interested in it.

“But then again, I don’t think he likes to lose money either.”

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