Earlier in the year Oil Can Boyd came out with a tell-all book and one of the things he told-all about was his cocaine use. At the time he said he used cocaine before two-thirds of his starts in the majors. He was on ESPN’s E:60 last night, however, and he told Buster Olney that 1986 was a bit more extreme than that:
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who pitched eight of his 10 major league seasons with the Boston Red Sox, says he used crack cocaine every day of the 1986 season while with the Red Sox, including one day in Oakland when he smoked in the clubhouse before one of his starts and had the drug tucked in his cap while on the mound.
Boyd started one game in Oakland in 1986. On May 11. His line: 7 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K and he allowed three homers. One of the homers was to Jose Canseco, making it the most drugged up homer in the history of baseball, I’d reckon. UPDATE: Nope, Villageidiom of Baseball Think Factory reminds me: “Darryl Strawberry hit a HR off Boyd on April 21, 1990.” So, touche.
Boyd went on, however. The son of a Negro Leaguer himself, he talked about the Negro Leagues, his character and legacy, and in doing so was pretty damn provocative:
Boyd, who was known for his flamboyance and volatility during his big league career, also said he regrets the Negro Leagues were broken up because of the loss of individuality that thrived in the leagues.
“I’m not real thankful to Jackie (Robinson) at all because I’m me, my style of baseball, the way I played it in the major leagues transpired from the Negro Leagues,” said Boyd, whose father played in the Negro Leagues. “So that’s why people found that I was a hot dog or I was flamboyant.
“Now the kids don’t even know the ballplayers anymore, it’s so commercialized. And they wonder where the black ballplayer went. Well, black ballplayers went to jail. In the last 20 years, that’s where they are.”
They also didn’t make the kind of money Boyd did in his career or have the kind of professional freedom and respectful treatment by hotel and restaurant operators, fans, the public and the press. So, sure, while I kind of get the point he’s trying to make about what was lost with the loss of the Negro Leagues, he may want to rethink how thankful he was for Jackie Robinson.