I realize I am probably dating myself when I say I couldn’t believe when I heard that Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd wants to pitch again. Some of you Red Sox fans remember him and others that are too young have probably just heard the stories. Just for reference, Boyd pitched for the Red Sox in their heartbreaking 1986 playoff run.
But yes, Oil Can Boyd is 49 years old and wants to pitch in the Bigs for the first time in 18 years.
“Satchel [Paige] being my idol and knowing he didn’t come into the (majors) until he was in his early 40s, that’s always been in the back of my mind,” Boyd told The Boston Globe. “Now, I’ve been given back the fastball I once had. I want to play.”
Boyd’s former catcher thinks he can actually pull it off.
“He looks no different to me now than when I caught him in Texas (with the Rangers). He still has the same passion. I don’t know if he was getting to 90 because we didn’t have a (radar) gun, but he still had the same stuff. The same tight slider, curve, fastball,” said former catcher Mike Stanley.
In a 10-season career with the Boston Red Sox, Montreal Expos and Texas Rangers, Boyd collected a 78-77 record with 799 strikeouts and a 4.04 ERA in 1389.2 innings. In 2005, Boyd tried to come back when he pitched for the Brockton Rox of the independent Can-Am League.
A colorful personality, Boyd was usually known for a good quote, even if it didn’t make sense. After a 1986 game against the Indians was canceled due to fog, Boyd said “That’s what they get for building a park on the ocean.” The stadium is actually built right next to Lake Erie.
Boyd had a few troubles in his past, including admittance to a psychiatric ward in 1986 after a fit of rage driven by the fact that he didn’t make the All-Star team. In 2005, he was indicted by a federal grand jury for threatening a girlfriend and her son.
But all that behind him, the man nicknamed Oil Can for his penchant for beer drinking when he was just 15-years old is ready to get back on the mound just shy of his 50th birthday.
“I have nothing to lose, and all a major league team has to lose is 15 minutes,” Boyd said. “Give me 15 minutes and I’ll show I can still pitch. That’s all I want.”