MLB

'Oil Can' Boyd reveals cocaine use

Dennis Boyd
Dennis Boyd admitted he pitched two-thirds of his games under the influence of cocaine.
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Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd has a tell-all book coming out later this year. He's already telling quite a bit.

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Boyd this week revealed he pitched about two-thirds of his games under the influence of cocaine. In a radio interview with WBZ's Jon Miller on Wednesday, Boyd spoke openly of his regular cocaine use.

“There wasn’t one ballpark that I probably didn’t stay up all night, until 4 or 5 in the morning, and the same thing is still in your system," Boyd said. "It’s not like you have time to go do it while in the game, which I had done that.

“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."

Boyd, now 52, won 43 games for the Red Sox from 1984-86 but tailed off dramatically after Boston's World Series loss to the New York Mets in 1986. He lasted 10 years in the majors and posted a 78-77 record and 4.04 ERA.

"I feel like my career was cut short for a lot of reasons," he said on WBZ, "but I wasn’t doing anything that hundreds of ballplayers weren’t doing at the time; because that’s how I learned it."

The Boston Globe reported Boyd's book — “They Call Me Oil Can: My Life in Baseball" — will be in bookstores in June.

Boyd said in the radio interview that he never was asked to take a drug test.

“I never had a drug test as long as I played baseball,’’ he said. “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.’’

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Boyd contends drug use alone is not the reason his career ultimately fell short of his potential.

“The reason I caught the deep end to it is because I’m black," Boyd said. "The bottom line is the game carries a lot of bigotry, and that was an easy way for them to do it.

“If I wasn’t outspoken and a so-called proud black man, maybe I would have gotten the empathy and sympathy like other ballplayers got that I didn’t get — like Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe. I can name 50 people that got third and fourth chances all because they weren’t outspoken black individuals.’’

Boyd got the "Oil Can" nickname for his prodigious consumption of beer — "oil" in the lexicon of his hometown of Meridian, Miss. He remains as outspoken as ever. Don't expect the book to be an extended apology or mea culpa. He expressed no regrets in the radio interview.

“It was something that I had to deal with personally and I succumbed," he said. "I lived through my life, and I feel good about myself. 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.’’

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