Games of Note: The 1946 Red Sox clinch the pennant on this day with a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Ted Williams is the man responsible, as he hit a solo home run to give Boston the win. The difference between this and the 520 other homers in Williams' career is that this particular long ball was not so long: it was the lone inside-the-park homer of the Splendid Splinter's 19-season career.
Williams hit an astounding .342/.497/.667, with 38 homers, a league-leading 156 walks, and the AL lead in total bases with 343. Total bases don't count walks, but if they did, Williams would have been one short of 500 on the year. And hey, since he was hit by a pitch twice, even more technically, he wasn't short. Williams took home the AL MVP after consecutive second-place finishes. The ridiculous part is that this was the weakest of the three campaigns, yet it still ranks as the 20th-best season ever* by OPS+. Yup, Ted Williams had three seasons better than the 20th-best offensive season ever. In case you were wondering, the entire top 10 is comprised of blocks of Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, and Williams. You might think what Mike Trout is doing is special -- and hey, it is -- but it doesn't crack the top 200 all-time. These guys were just on a different level, relative to their peers.
Boston would end up winning the American League by 12 games, but, as you know, ultimately fell to National League MVP Stan Musial and the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series.
Jumping ahead all the way to 2011, Tim Wakefield finally notches victory 200 of his career, after giving it a record eight tries. Wakefield leaves with the score 6-5, but the Red Sox keep adding runs until it's 18-6. You know, just to be sure.
Transactions: The Red Sox sign amateur free agent Rafael Betancourt on September 13, 1993. Betancourt is released and re-signed and released by the time 2001 rolls around, all without ever pitching in the majors. He signed on with Cleveland roughly 10 years after initially signing as a pro, though, and the 28-year-old made it count, posting a 2.13 ERA. Betancourt has a career ERA+ of 144, and if not for arm injuries, would likely be recognized a bit more for how good he is. Or was, as the case is, when it comes to Boston.
Birthdays: Andy LaRoche, currently in Pawtucket, turns 29 today. Daisuke Matsuzaka, in the final year of his six-year contract with the Red Sox, turns 32.