Oil Can Boyd Pitched While High On Cocaine
Dennis ‘Oil Can’ Boyd has revealed he probably pitched under the influence of cocaine “at every ballpark” in his 10-year major league career.
The former Red Sox pitcher, now 52, told Boston’s WBZ radio station that his habit cost him scores of possible wins, and quite a lot of sleep, by the sounds of it:
“Some of the best games I’ve ever pitched in the major leagues I stayed up all night – I’d say two-thirds of them. (But) if I had went to bed, I would have won 150 ballgames in the time span that I played.”
As it is, Oil Can Boyd – so named because of a love for beer in his youth in Missouri, where beer was known as ‘oil,’ – won only 78 matches.
Speaking to WBZ’s Jon Miller, Boyd said he had “learned how to indulge in an abundance of cocaine,” around a year before his most successful season in 1986. He is clean today, and now sees his former habit as a response to a “very cold, scary world I was living in as a young kid.”
If it’s surprising that Boyd got away with his cocaine abuse for so long, that’s because he was barely confronted about it:
“I never had a drug test as long as I played baseball. I was told that, yeah, if you don’t stop doing this we’re going to put you into rehab, and I told them … I’m going to do what I have to do, I have to win ballgames. We’ll talk about that in the offseason. Right now I have to win ballgames.”
And Boyd’s old teammates may have reason to be concerned. While he revealed no names in his interview with Miller, he has an apparently revealing memoir out in June, They Call Me Oil Can: My Life in Baseball. Boyd’s fellow players had varying reactions about his habit at the time, though most knew about it:
“All of them didn’t rally around me. All of them knew (of my habit) and the ones that cared came to me. The Dwight Evanses and Bill Buckners and Don Baylors … it was the veteran ballplayers. Some guys lived it; they knew what you were doing, and the only way they knew was they had to have tried it, too.”