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Babe Ruth sets a new kind of home run record, Ted Williams is fighting for all of the batting titles, and Pete Runnels is attempting to take one away.
Games of Note: Babe Ruth hits his 29th homer of the season in what will be his final year with the Red Sox. What makes this homer special is that it comes in Washington, the one park in the league where Ruth has not yet hit a home run in 1919. He's the first player ever to have a homer in every stadium in the same season.
It's 1941, and Ted Williams is hitting .401 to begin the day. He gets the option of sitting out the rest of the year from manager Joe Cronin, but Williams wants to earn his .400 batting average the hard way, so instead plays against the Athletics. Williams goes one-for-four, dropping his average slightly, but it still rounds up to .400 at this point.
In 1942, with America's participation in World War II now a thing, free admission was offered at Fenway Park to those who brought scrap metal to be melted down and used for the war effort. Over 4,000 in attendance take advantage of this, bringing in 29,000 pounds of scrap metal. That was enough to make one tank and some rounds for it to fire. (At least, it was back then, when tanks were much newer and lighter than their modern counterparts.) On the same day, it's Ted Williams' final appearance before heading to this very war. He finishes the year with a .356 batting average, taking home his second batting title.
In 1958, Williams is still enough of a hitter to compete for the same award. He and teammate Pete Runnels begin the day tied to the fifth decimal place, and each player earns three hits on the day against Washington. The thing is, Williams goes three-for-four with a walk, while Runnels is three-for-six. With one game left in the year, Williams stands at .327, Runnels at .324.
Transactions: The 1999 Red Sox release Mark Portugal. The 36-year-old was second on the team in starts and innings, but was allowing 1.7 homers per nine, and had the worst ERA and ERA+ of anyone in the rotation. Portugal had been considering retirement earlier in the year, and had even left the team for a short while. He also had not made a start since September 11, with his last two appearances of the season coming out of the bullpen, more than a week apart.
Back in 1936, the Red Sox released two others: Heinie Manush, and Bing Miller. Manush had hit .291/.329/.371, which looks solid, but it's actually awful back in 1936: that's only good for an OPS+ of 68. Manush would eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1964, but he didn't have any of that magic left in him by the time he was in Boston. Miller was basically league-average at .298/.377/.447, but the 41-year-old was also retiring. The last day of the 1936 season was September 27, so Boston didn't waste any time on their off-season.
Birthdays: Pedro Ciriaco turns 27 years old today. Just in case anyone still liked to think of him as prospect age. Vicente Padilla turns 35. He's had his moments on the mound in 2012, but at this point, he's book-ended a productive middle with a poor start and finish.