Games of Note: The Pittsburgh Pirates, champions of the National League, take on the Boston Americans -- the future Red Sox -- in the first ever World Series contest on this day in 1903. Boston starts Cy Young in game one, with the Pirates tabbing Deacon Phillippe. While Philippe does not have an award named after him, he was able to secure the victory against Boston, 7-3. Pittsburgh's Jimmy Sebring hits the first-ever World Series home run in this contest. Sebring would only hit six in his career -- four in 1903, two in 1905, and no others in his other three campaigns.
Roger Maris entered the day with 60 homers, tied with Babe Ruth for the most ever in a single-season. Ruth's record has stood for 34 years -- longer than the 26-year-old Maris has been alive -- but on this day, Maris would set a new threshold for homer excellence. Maris hit #61 off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard in Yankee Stadium, giving the Yankees the 1-0 victory, and Maris the then all-time best home run season in history.
October 1, 1978, and the Red Sox win 5-0 against the Toronto Blue Jays. That's not enough, though, as the Yankees came into the day ahead of Boston by one game in the standings. The Cleveland Indians take care of that for the Sox, defeating the Yanks 9-2. This forces a one-game playoff -- or, the one-game playoff, as it's likely recognized by fans of both teams now. We'll talk more about that game's depressing conclusion on the appropriate day.
Transactions: Kyle Snyder is released by the Red Sox on October 1 of 2008. Boston is in the playoffs already, facing the Angels in the ALDS, The 30-year-old Snyder hasn't pitched since April, and threw all of 1-2/3 innings in the majors. Snyder posted a 5.26 ERA at Pawtucket, and but for one last stint with Triple-A Buffalo in 2009, that was the end of his big-league career.
The Red Sox sign amateur free agent Juan Beniquez in 1968. Beniquez would spend 1969 in Single-A, then move up one level per year the next two, until reaching the majors in 1971 as a 21-year-old. His minor-league numbers don't look all that appealing, and of his four years in Boston, just one was above-average offensively. He would end up with a 17-year career in the majors, though, and thanks to a late-career surge, even finished up with a 96 OPS+ in over 5,000 plate appearances.
On June 12 of 1986, Beniquez was an Oriole. It was game two of a doubleheader, and Beniquez, who played plenty but wasn't an outright starter, got the nod at designated hitter for the contest. While Beniquez would hit just 79 homers in his career, averaging five per season and just nine per 162 games, on this day he would go deep three times against the Yankees. It wasn't enough for Baltimore, though, as all three were solo shots, and the Yanks won 7-5.
Birthdays: Former Red Sox closer Jeff Reardon turns 57 today. The Pittsfield, Massachusetts native pitched for Boston from 1990 through 1992, compiling a 124 ERA+ and 88 saves over 153 innings of work. Reardon made the all-star team in 1991, but the impending free agent was traded to the Braves on August 30 of 1992 for Sean Ross and Nate Minchey.