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BOSTON (CBS) – Former Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd admitted on Wednesday that two-thirds of the time he was on the mound, he was under the influence of cocaine.
“Oh yeah, at every ballpark. There wasn’t one ballpark that I probably didn’t stay up all night, until four or five in the morning, and the same thing is still in your system,” Boyd told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Jonny Miller in Fort Myers, Fla. “It’s not like you have time to go do it while in the game, which I had done that.
“Some of the best games I’ve ever, ever pitched in the major leagues I stayed up all night; I’d say two-thirds of them,” said Boyd, who spent eight of his 10 major league seasons with the Red Sox. “If I had went to bed, I would have won 150 ballgames in the time span that I played. I feel like my career was cut short for a lot of reasons, but I wasn’t doing anything that hundreds of ball players weren’t doing at the time; because that’s how I learned it.”
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Despite that, Boyd said he has no regrets in his career that spanned from 1982 t0 1991.
“It was something that I had to deal with personally and I succumbed,” he said. “I lived through my life and I feel good about myself. I have no regrets about what I did or said about anything that I said or did. I’m a stand-up person and I came from a quality background of people.”
Boyd, who went 78-77 with 799 career strikeouts with the Red Sox, Expos and Rangers, said he received support from some teammates, but not all.
“All of them didn’t rally around me,” he explained. “All of them knew and the ones that cared came to me. The Dwight Evans and Bill Buckners… It was the veteran ball players. Some guys lived it… They knew what you were doing, and the only way they knew was they had to have tried it too.”
Boyd explained why he believes he got a worse reputation than some others.
“The reason I caught the deep end to it is because I’m black. The bottom line is the game carries a lot of bigotry, and that was an easy way for them to do it,” Boyd said. “If I wasn’t outspoken and a so-called ‘proud black man,’ maybe I would have gotten the empathy and sympathy like other ballplayers got that I didn’t get; like Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe. I can name 50 people that got third and fourth chances all because they weren’t outspoken black individuals.”
Boyd said he was never asked to take a drug test during his playing days.
“I never had a drug test as long as I played baseball,” he said. “I was told that, yeah, if you don’t stop doing this we’re going to put you into rehab, and I told them (expletive) that (expletive). I’m going to do what I have to do, I have to win ball games. We’ll talk about that in the offseason, right now I have to win ball games.”
The retired Red Sox pitcher has been busy as of late. His autobiography, “They Call Me Oil Can,” is scheduled for publication in June. In May, he will be filming his role as pitcher Satchel Paige in a major motion picture about Jackie Robinson, starring Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, Richard Gere and Chadwick Boseman as Robinson.