Games of Note: It's 1995, and the Red Sox have won the American League East, putting them in the playoffs for the first time since 1990. Boston's Roger Clemens took on Dennis Martinez in game one on this day, and things were heading in Boston's direction until the sixth, when Cleveland scores three to put them ahead 3-2. Boston would tie it in the eighth, and it would remain tied until the 11th, when both clubs would score a run in their half-inning, pushing the score to 4-4. Things stuck there until the bottom of the 13th, with Zane Smith on the mound for Boston, and former Sox backstop Tony Pena at the plate. Pena went deep with two outs at the plate, giving the Indians their first playoff victory since 1948.
Five homers were hit in this game -- one by Boston's Tim Naehring, John Valentine, and Luis Alicia a piece -- as well as Pena's blast, and another for Cleveland from Albert Belle. These were the top two offenses in the majors, with Boston coming in with a 108 OPS+, and the Indians -- who won 100 games in a strike-shortened season -- at 116. Even pitchers like Clemens and Martinez weren't about to stop that easily.
In 2009, Albert Pujols records an assist, the 184th of the season. This ties the major-league record for assists in a single year, set by Bill Buckner back in 1985 with the Red Sox. Yes, there was a time when Bill Buckner could play with the glove a bit.
Transactions: Across time, seasons have already ended by this date. It's not always the case, but there are plenty of campaigns that are over by October 3. Because of this, whole bunches of players will have been granted free agency rather than released.
In 2006, it was first baseman Hee Seop-Choi. He never played with Boston, instead spending the season in Pawtucket, where he hit just .207/.347/.361. The 27-year-old ended his career stateside with this, and moved back to baseball in his home country of Korea. Choi looked much more like the player that Baseball America raved about before he hit his way out of the game.
Bruce Chen was granted free agency on October 3, 2003. Chen had thrown all of 12-1/3 innings for the Red Sox after Boston selected him off of waivers from the Astros in May of the same year. He threw 85 innings with Pawtucket -- typical Bruce Chen innings, filled with peripherals that look pretty okay until you see his homer rate. As you know, Chen is now 35, and still in the majors. The Royals are his 10th major-league home in 14 seasons, and let's not forget he's also spent time in the minors with seven of those organizations. What a strange career.
Birthdays: Former Red Sox prospect Matt Murton turns 31 today. Murton was part of the Nomar Garciaparra trade from 2004 that netted Boston Doug Mientkiewicz and Orlando Cabrera. He headed to Japan starting in 2009, and has played in the Japan Central League since. While he posted an 894 OPS in his first season (the average OPS in 2009 was 740), he's slowed down considerably since, and posted a sub-700 mark in 2012.
It's also Hall of Famer and twice former Red Sox Dennis Eckersley's 58th birthday. Eck might have already received his birthday present from the Sox, as he was named to the pitching staff of the All-Fenway team.