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.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.