A few days ago, I along with most everyone else read the story about Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd being on Coke for 2/3 of his starts while he was in the major leagues. Although I don’t feel like I was shocked when I heard the news, I was definitely surprised. Being a Yankee fan I followed Boyd’s career while he was with the Red Sox, secretly hoping that he would move to another team.
Up until 1986 he was one of the best pitchers in the majors. From 1984 through 1986 he was 45-35, 3.92 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, with 417 strikeouts in 684 innings pitched. Then in 1987 he got injured, it seemed to be nothing at first. 1988 was a very disappointing season and if I had to venture a guess his heavy coke use started during th 1986 season carried over into 1987 and continued on though his career.
He had some full seasons following his 1987 injury, but they all ended the same way. A just over or under 500 record with an ERA north of 5.00. It really is a shame since he had great mechanics and seemed to have a machine for an arm. He personally crushed the Yankees every time they played. I feel like if he played it straight, he might have gone on to have a career that might have lasted 15-18 years instead of the 10 he played.
As he weened himself off of drugs, he began to participate in senior, minor, Peurto Rican and Mexican baseball leagues. Always being the likable guy he was in his early years in baseball. I am hopeful that this admission will be a wakeup to kids and other players in baseball that drugs wrack your body and it always ends with a career in the toilet.
As far as the hobby is concerned, Boyd’s autograph runs between $5 – $10 on eBay. He has appeared in a few different releases, most notably, Sweet Spot and last year’s Goodwin Champions. Personally I think that he’s a piece of baseball folklore and for that alone, I think that he is worth picking up. I mean how cool are these two autographs pictured below?
What do you think of Oil Can?