One of the most popular pitchers to ever don a Boston Red Sox uniform recently wowed a large crowd in The Villages.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd spoke to members of Red Sox Nation on Thursday night at the SeaBreeze Recreation Center. The 60-year-old who pitched eight seasons for the Red Sox shared several anecdotes, including:
- As a 9-year-old child he knew he wanted to be a Major League pitcher and wrote a story about it to his teacher. About 30 years later, she saw him and gave him his paper back. She had kept it all those years and was so proud of his accomplishments.
- He grew up one of 17 children and his father was very strict with them. They all loved baseball and played. In fact, 22 relatives in his family played professional baseball. He said it is “in their blood.” He attributes his success to his father’s strictness and his love of the game.
- He was signed by Lou Gorman, was part of the 1986 Red Sox World Series team and played with many Hall of Famers, including Carl Yastrzemski and Nolan Ryan.
- He had great command of the ball and was famous for his changeup pitch. He could remember the batters and how to pitch to them after seeing them just once.
- He still has a great passion for the game and enjoys teaching it to children.
Boyd, who supposedly got his nickname from his beer-drinking days in his hometown of Meridian, Miss. where beer was referred to as “oil,” pitched for the Red Sox for eight seasons – 1982-89. He won 60 games for the team, with 31 of those victories coming from 1983-85.
Boyd started 15 games in 1985 and completed 15 of those. He pitched a total of 272.1 innings and tallied a whopping 154 strikeouts. The following year he added 16 more victories and started Game 3 of the World Series.
Boyd attended Jackson State University and was selected by the Red Sox in the 16th round of the 1980 draft. He made his debut in 1982 and pitched 10 seasons in the Major Leagues before issues with blood clots in his right arm forced him to retire. He also pitched for the Montreal Expos (1990-91) and the Texas Rangers (1991), with his final start coming on Oct. 1, 1991. His overall record was 78-77 and he tallied 799 strikeouts and an earned run average of 4.04.