This Date In Red Sox History: August 16 - Jimmie Fox Homers, Jimy Williams Fired

David Eckstein was really good at getting hit by pitches. This is one of the 143 beanings he sustained in his career. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Games of Note: It's 1940, and Jimmie Foxx is in his 16th season of a 20-year career. He goes deep twice against the Washington Senators, in a game Boston wins, and these homers push him ahead of Lou Gehrig on the all-time list. For the season, Foxx would end up with 36 long balls, the last year of a stretch that saw him go deep 484 times in 11 years.

Foxx would only spend one more full season with Boston before he was put on waivers in 1942, where the Cubs would select him. The 1941 campaign was solid -- .300/.412/.505 -- but it lacked the power he had displayed in other years, as he went deep just 19 times. From that point forward, over three seasons' time, Foxx would collect just 17 more homers, to give him a career total of 534.

Jumping ahead about 60 years brings us to August 16, 2001, on the day that manager Jimy Williams was fired. The Red Sox were 13 games over .500 at the time of the firing, but would finish at just 82-79 under interim manager (and former pitching coach) Joe Kerrigan, and it took five-straight wins to end the year to get to even that point. As Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo reminded viewers on the telecast yesterday, that was a split between manager and his charges.

Transactions: This isn't a move the Red Sox made, so much as one they let occur: second baseman David Eckstein was selected off of waivers by the Anaheim Angels on this day in 2000. Eckstein would make it to the majors one year later as a shortstop, and while he was never quite as good as the hype surrounding him, he made himself useful for a long period of time. A .280/.345/.355 career line is solid from a player who was a quality defender at short in his younger years, and a reliable second baseman in his later ones.

Because of how few prospects made it -- and stayed -- in the majors under Dan Duquette's watch, he gets flak for the Eckstein thing. To be fair to Duke, though, at the time of the waiver claim, Eckstein was a 25-year-old hitting .246/.364/.301 at Triple-A, and his prior successes had all come while he was old for the level. Even with that caveat, though, it still doesn't look great for their scouts or Duquette. Especially given that the Pawtucket roster was full of older players that the organization kept around as depth.

Don't click that link unless you're prepared for a Morgan Burkhart sighting.

Birthdays: Speaking of Duquette, it's Jin Ho Cho's 37th birthday. The South Korean right-hander was signed as an international free agent in 1998, and debuted in the majors that same year at age 22. He would throw 58 innings in the majors, compiling a 6.52 ERA in the process. You do have to remember, though, that a 6.52 ERA went a lot further back in 1998-1999 -- that was still an ERA+ of 76. Not good by any means, but hey, not quite as catastrophic as in today's game.

Jin Ho Cho stayed in Boston's system through 2002, but couldn't stay consistently good long enough to ever earn that return trip back to the majors. He would attempt a comeback of his career in 2009, in the Korean Baseball Organization, but the 33-year-old just didn't have it in his arm anymore, and he was done after all of 10 innings.

Death Days: He might not be remembered as a Red Sox first, but that's where he spent the first six years of his career. Babe Ruth died on this day in 1948, at the age of 53, due to cancer that he had been treating for two years.

Ruth hit .308/.413/.568 for the Red Sox over six seasons. That might look pretty good, and not exactly stunningly great, but, in his last year with Boston, the average slugging percentage was .359 in the American League. Ruth was a great power hitter at a time when great power hitters didn't exist. There's a reason he led the league in homers in his last two seasons in Boston, despite not playing a full slate of games in the field until his final year there.

Ruth also won 89 games with the Red Sox as a pitcher, and posted a 2.13 ERA in 1,190 innings. Among Red Sox pitchers with at least 1,000 innings in their Boston careers, that ranks fourth behind a couple of arms you might have heard of:

Rk Player ERA IP From To GS BB SO ERA+
1 Smoky Joe Wood 1.99 1416.0 1908 1915 157 412 986 150
2 Cy Young 2.00 2728.1 1901 1908 297 299 1341 147
3 Dutch Leonard 2.13 1361.1 1913 1918 161 412 771 129
4 Babe Ruth 2.19 1190.1 1914 1919 143 425 483 125
5 Carl Mays 2.21 1105.0 1915 1919 112 290 399 124
6 Ray Collins 2.51 1336.0 1909 1915 151 269 511 116
7 Pedro Martinez 2.52 1383.2 1998 2004 201 309 1683 190
8 Bill Dinneen 2.81 1501.0 1902 1907 174 338 602 106
9 George Winter 2.91 1599.2 1901 1908 176 370 543 100
10 Tex Hughson 2.94 1375.2 1941 1949 156 372 693 125
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/15/2012.

If you adjust for era -- notice most of those low ERAs are ancient history, except for one particular pitcher whose name shall be spoken in reverent tones only -- things change a bit...

Rk Player ERA+ IP From To GS BB SO ERA
1 Pedro Martinez 190 1383.2 1998 2004 201 309 1683 2.52
2 Smoky Joe Wood 150 1416.0 1908 1915 157 412 986 1.99
3 Cy Young 147 2728.1 1901 1908 297 299 1341 2.00
4 Roger Clemens 144 2776.0 1984 1996 382 856 2590 3.06
5 Lefty Grove 143 1539.2 1934 1941 190 447 743 3.34
6 Dutch Leonard 129 1361.1 1913 1918 161 412 771 2.13
7 Babe Ruth 125 1190.1 1914 1919 143 425 483 2.19
8 Tex Hughson 125 1375.2 1941 1949 156 372 693 2.94
9 Mel Parnell 125 1752.2 1947 1956 232 758 732 3.50
10 Carl Mays 124 1105.0 1915 1919 112 290 399 2.21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/15/2012.

...but Ruth still finishes as a top-10 starting pitcher for the Red Sox all-time, minimum 1,000 innings.

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