Friday, December 19, 2014

Player Profile: Dennis Boyd

I have 46 cards of Dennis Boyd. This one is from 1986 Topps.

Playing career: Dennis Boyd, better known as “Oil Can” [slang for “beer can” in his native Mississippi] pitched ten seasons in the major leagues, mostly for the Red Sox. His best season was 1986, when he helped the Red Sox win the pennant by going 16-10 with a 3.78 ERA. Overall he went 78-77 with a 4.04 ERA.

Where he is now: Boyd still pitches in semi-pro leagues, and made headlines in 2012 for writing an autobiography where he detailed his cocaine use during his playing career and claimed to have been high for every start in 1986. He also accused everyone he had a conflict with as being racist (including black Red Sox teammates Don Baylor and Jim Rice). For example, he claimed that Dick Howser was racist for leaving him off the All-Star team in 1986, saying “Bigotry had to do with that. I was the best pitcher in the league that first half.” Anyone who was watching baseball in 1986 knows Boyd wasn’t even the best pitcher on his own team in the first half. That quote came from a very pro-Boyd profile in the marijuana publication High Times. That articles notes that “Boyd’s been married to the same woman for 27 years . . . never went bankrupt or lost his mind.” Somehow they failed to mention his arrest a few years earlier for threatening a girlfriend and business associate.

My memories: I remember him as being one of the most colorful characters in baseball when I first started following the game. I didn’t really understand the drug stuff as a kid. I also remember him being the most prominent of the strikebreakers in the 1995 Spring Training. I was kind of hoping that they played some real games (like they did in the NFL in 1987) so guys like Boyd would pitch in the major leagues again.

Google Autocomplete results: He is eighth when you type Dennis Bo, between Dennis Booker, a TV character, and Dennis Bonn, football coach at Cold Spring Harbor High School on Long Island. Another prominent Dennis Boyd is President of Southport Wealth Management.

Coming up next: The next profile will be Greg Boyd.

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