BOSTON, MA: Jacoby Ellsbury #2 of the Boston Red Sox snags a line drive against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Games of Note: Six games is all the Red Sox need to defeat the Cubs in the 1918 World Series, as Carl Mays beats Lefty Tyler to give the Red Sox four wins to Chicago's two. This was hard to watch if you like offense, as the Cubs compiled a team ERA of 1.04, with Boston scoring just nine runs in the entire series. The Cubs scored just 10 times, though, and helped Boston out by making five errors in six games. The Red Sox managed to make just one error, the lowest ever for a World Series at the time, and a figure that wouldn't be matched for the rest of the 20th century. It wasn't until 2004, when the Red Sox won the World Series once more, that a team would make just a single error in the World Series. This time around, it was the Cardinals, but it didn't help them, as Boston swept St. Louis for their first World Series victory since the last time a team made just one error in the league championship.
Moving ahead to 1966 -- or back to, given the way the last paragraph finished -- it's Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway. John Miller is a Yankee rookie making his major-league debut, and he goes deep in his first at-bat. This wasn't an omen for things to come, though, as it was the only homer Miller would hit while in pinstripes. Miller would play just six games with the Yankees, all in 1966, before he was traded to the Dodgers in April of 1967. Los Angeles would keep the 23-year-old Miller in the minors until 1969, when he would once again come up for a brief time. In Miller's last major-league at-bat, he went deep for his second career home run. That's how you bookend.
Only 113 players in baseball history have homered in their very first at-bat. Only 44 players have homered in their last at-bat. Miller, who has just the two homers, managed to work his way into both clubs. Amazingly, Miller isn't the only player to accomplish this feat. Paul Gillespie, who started in 1942 and ended in 1945, also pulled it off. It's just those two, though, and Miller's stands out given he had just the two homers total, each historic, even more so when put together.
Transactions: The Red Sox picked up Jack Chesbro off of waivers on this date in 1909. Chesbro was a future Hall of Famer, inducted by the Old Timers Committee in 1946. With the Red Sox, though, Chesbro was just a veteran on the way out. He pitched in one game in 1909 with Boston, giving up three earned runs and four total over six innings, thanks to four walks and a homer. This would be his last appearance in the majors, as the former Pirate and New York Highlander called it a career following the season.
Birthdays: This is a popular day for Red Sox birthdays. Current Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury turns 29 today, while Frank Francisco, signed by the Red Sox as an amateur free agent in 1996, is 33. Then there's Ellis Burks, who was on the Red Sox from 1987 through 1992, then again in 2004 to finish out his career. Burks was a special and underrated talent: in his 18-year career, he compiled more wins above replacement than Hall of Famer and former teammate Jim Rice. That's not meant to disparage Rice -- it's meant to celebrate Burks, who was a fine major-league hitter and defender for a very long time.