Ethics Dunce: Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd

Well, I can’t say I’m really very surprised.

And another mystery solved: Why was he called "Oil Can"? Because apparently that's what he has on top of his neck instead of a head.

Former Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, one of my favorite characters when he was active, admitted this week that he was stoked up on cocaine when he pitched more often than not. “Oh yeah, at every ballpark. There wasn’t one ballpark that I probably didn’t stay up all night, until four or five in the morning, and the same thing is still in your system,” Boyd told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller in Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox are about to start Spring Training.  “Some of the best games I’ve ever, ever pitched in the major leagues I stayed up all night; I’d say two-thirds of them. If I had went to bed, I would have won 150 ballgames in the time span that I played. I feel like my career was cut short for a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t doing anything that hundreds of ball players weren’t doing at the time; because that’s how I learned it.”

Now it all comes together. Recently it was revealed that in the final game of the 1986 Mets-Red Sox World Series, made necessary because that ball rolled through Bill Buckner’s legs, the Red Sox weren’t able to use their well-rested #3 starter in relief (and had to use its barely-average #4 starter, the immortal Al Nipper instead, who promptly lost the game) because Oil Can was “indisposed.” Ah. That’s what “indisposed” meant.

But never mind little matters like broken-hearted fans and betrayed team mates; never mind taking several millions of dollars to do your best and not only sticking it up your nose, doing it so that you couldn’t meet your obligations. Never mind breaking the law. Never mind making me have to listen to 18 years of nonsense about “The Curse of the Bambino” and to keep seeing that video of Mookie Wilson’s bouncer going through Buck’s wickets as Ray Knight scampers across the plate. Oil Can feels good about it all!

“I lived through my life and I feel good about myself,” he says. “I have no regrets about what I did or said about anything that I said or did. I’m a stand-up person and I came from a quality background of people.”

Yes, Oil Can failed everyone who trusted and depended on him, selfishly indulging his need to get high without a thought about the consequences of his actions, hurting people, wrecking lives (if Oil Can Boyd had been able to pitch in Game #7 and the Red Sox had won, how different Bill Buckner’s life would be today!) and degrading the game that treated him well, and he has no regrets!

Well, I do. I regret every minute I spent watching games that Oil Can pitched in, because they weren’t legitimate athletic contests. I even regret watching “Field of Dreams,” because it’s Oil Can on the mound at Fenway Park when Ray sees Moonlight Graham’s stats on the electronic scoreboard. Now I can’t  watch one of my favorite movies any more. Thanks, Oil Can.

Oil Can Boyd threw his career away, and his teams and fans along with it, so he could get high…and doesn’t have the decency and sense of responsibility regret it.

What an idiot.

11 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd

  1. You should move to Maine. Up here, deer season runs mid September to mid December; turkey season runs mid May to mid June and for a week in October; Ruffed Grouse season runs October to December, but you can take coyotes and Yankees fans year ’round.

  2. Who was it – Tim Raines? – the successful base-stealer who slid head-first to keep safe the coke he stashed in his socks? (It’s almost time for my annual marathon re-viewing of Ken Burns’ Baseball video series.) It’s yet another “say-it-ain’t-so!” moment, Oil Can’s confession and gloating.

    I think the next time a club offers a bring-your-dog-to-the-park game day, I’ll see if I can bring along a borrowed drug-sniffing working dog, and walk it as close to the players as I can. Or ask the local police to bring their similarly trained dogs on the same day, so they can actually get out onto the field, into the locker rooms, etc. Come to think of it, I just might get for keeps a dog trained like that, and take it to every media event or autographing opportunity where the players show up. GRRRRR!

  3. I am reminded of the comment once made about Roger Clemens — He’s called “the rocket,” NOT ‘the rocket scientist.”

    Oil Can was fun to watch, and not fun to see fall apart. The less MLB recruits from high schools and from college teams the better off we’ll all be.

    No sympathy for Oil Can. Maybe he needed a mentor; maybe he needed an IQ of over 80.

  4. I know some would see his cocaine use affecting his play as being worse then say Mantle’s alcohol abuse affecting his, but I think they are both the same. The only differences being that one was illegal and the other wasn’t. Mantle did come out say years later that he had squandered his talent by drinking and regretted it.

    • I agree—I don’t see any difference from a professional standpoint. They are not performance-enhancing drugs—if I had to pick, I’d rather see a player try to play on coke rather than drunk. Last year Bernie Carbo told the press that he was pretty much smashed most games he played in, including when he hit the game-tying pinch-hit homer in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.

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