Former Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd revealed in an interview Wednesday that he was under the influence of cocaine in “two-thirds” of the games he pitched and that teammates were aware of it.
Appearing on WBZ NewsRadio to promote his forthcoming autobiography “They Call Me Oil Can: My Life in Baseball,” Boyd said of his cocaine use: “Oh yeah, at every ballpark. 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. 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. I feel like my career was cut short for a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t doing anything that hundreds of ballplayers weren’t doing at the time, because that’s how I learned it.”
Boyd pitched in the majors from 1982-91, spending eight of those seasons with Boston (he also played for the Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers). He was 78-77 in his career with a 4.04 ERA.
Boyd said his teammates had mixed reactions to his cocaine use.
“All of them didn’t rally around me,” he told WBZ. “All of them knew and the ones that cared came to me — the Dwight Evanses and Bill Buckners. 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.”
Boyd said he was never tested for drugs during his career.
“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 (expletive) that (expletive). 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.”
Boyd said he believes that “bigotry,” and not his drug use, was to blame for his career not lasting more than 10 seasons.
“The reason I caught the deep end to it is because I’m black,” he 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’s autobiography is scheduled to be released in June.
Oil Can Boyd admits cocaine use during career
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