Games of Note: 100 years ago today, the Boston Red Sox are in the 1912 World Series, facing the New York Giants. Things don't go Boston's way on this day, with the Giants taking game six, 11-4. Game seven wasn't what you normally consider game seven to be, as game two ended in a 6-6 tie after 11 innings, so this loss brought the series even, rather than giving us a World Series winner.
Smoky Joe Wood was slated to start game six, but instead, Buck O'Brien took the hill. Red Sox owner Jimmy McAleer wanted O'Brien to pitch instead of Wood, despite the team and manager disagreeing with the decision -- Sox players thought the ownership was attempting to extend the series for a larger ticket take. Wood had already won two games for Boston, and had thrown 35 complete-games with a 179 ERA+ during the season -- he was Boston's best chance to win a World Series contest. O'Brien, on the other hand, didn't know he was pitching until the morning of game six, and was working off a hangover.
Being the best chance isn't a guarantee, though. Wood pitched just one inning in his own start, allowing six runs on seven hits. Charley Hall relieved Wood and tossed the other eight frames, giving up five runs, and Boston's offense couldn't muster an answer to the Giants' attack.
Jumping ahead to 1975, the Red Sox take on the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. Luis Tiant starts game four, and throws 163 pitches in his start taking down the Reds 5-4. It was fours across the board for Tiant: nine innings, but four runs, four walks, and four strikeouts. Tiant had also won game one, shutting out the Reds for another nine innings. Tiant would start again two games later, and unsurprisingly, after two complete games, the last of which took 163 pitches, he finally exploded.
Transactions: Rafael Betancourt is granted free agency on this day in 2001. While Betancourt is now considered a highly successful reliever, at the time, he was a promising -- but often injured -- minor-league hurler. In 2001, he posted a 5.62 ERA in 24 innings at Trenton, then missed all of 2002 due to injury. The former shortstop's body just didn't seem to want to hold up as a pitcher, but now, 10 seasons later, he's still pitching, and very good.
Birthdays: Bill Henry turns 85 today. Henry pitched for the Red Sox from 1952 through 1955, then spent 1956 pitching for the Sox' Triple-A club. He then moved on to the Cubs organization, when the Sox traded him for Frank Kellert. Henry recorded a 109 ERA+ over 317 innings with Boston, split between starting and relief. Henry pitched until he was 41 years old in 1969, but ended up with fewer than 1,000 innings total.