Oil Can Boyd

Oil Can Boyd used crack every day of the 1986 season, not that thankful for Jackie Robinson

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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.

Edwin Encarnacion: “I think [the Blue Jays] got too hasty in making their decision.”

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 19:  Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays reacts in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians during game five of the American League Championship Series at Rogers Centre on October 19, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.

Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:

“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’

Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.

Sammy Sosa compares himself to Jesus Christ

Sammy Sosa
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I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.

The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.

Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.

Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:

It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”

At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.

I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .