On Nov. 19, 2007, Oil Can Boyd arrived late at the World Series Club dinner for which he was to be the featured speaker. He wasn’t apologetic. He strutted in with a big chip on his shoulder.
There was hope that the eccentric hurler would be insightful and entertaining. Perhaps he’d explain why he became angry when he wasn’t selected for the 1986 All Star team, subsequently going AWOL and being suspended by the Sox. Or maybe he would tell us how it felt to pitch the Division clincher at Fenway, propelling Boston into the ’86 playoffs.
No chance. He was all working class braggadocio, asserting his greatness (in his own mind) and fudging his way through 30 minutes of innocuous and boring drivel. His speaking skills were non-existent, his focus spun out of control. Never again, I told myself. The Can is a mess.
Boyd is all over the media this week promoting his new book, They call me Oil Can, co-written with Mike Shalin.
Can wasn’t any more coherent this week than he was in 2007. He told WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan that…and I am paraphrasing…although he had smoked pot and crack cocaine while playing in the MLB, he was still the greatest athlete on any field when he was on it, so imagine just how great he could have been sober, but never second guess his right to smoke crack or pot before a game because doing drugs is an inalienable right, and even with the drug habit he was still better than everyone else, and his drinking and drugging was an abomination…but he doesn’t regret it…yada yada yada.
He further told the EEI guys that he was blessed with “a super uncanny ability to play baseball”. “I went 16 – 10 in ’86 but missed a month, I should have been 20 – 6.”
“I smoke pot…I’ve been doing that since I was 12 years old…I made it to the Major Leagues smoking weed…I made my high school baseball team smoking weed..I’m in my college Hall of Fame…I’m in my conference Hall of Fame.”
I think we can guess where Oil Can stands on legalization of marijuana.
And then there was his take on racism on the Red Sox. Can is certain that one Hall of Fame 3rd Baseman and the front office that tolerated him were the tandem that fomented bigotry in Beantown.
“I know Wade Boggs was a bigot. He was raised that way. His Daddy was. He was. He used the word nigger every day. I confronted him about it every time he did it. But I would turn out to be the bad guy every time I did.”
You can listen to the 20 minute interview on www.weei.com. By the time it concludes, Can has dropped several F bombs and hung up on the radio hosts.
He’s out of control.
He is an embarrassment.
Speaking of embarrassments to Baseball, I am enjoying the Mike Bass book about the most eccentric owner in baseball history, Marge Schott Unleashed.
I like that title, with its leash reference. It recalls how the red menace would lead her German shepard, Schotzie, around Riverfront Stadium, where he one day peed in a luxury box near, but not upon, the Commissioner of Baseball.
Bass explains how MLB did not properly vet Marge Schott before approving her purchase of the Reds in 1984. Had they dug a bit, they may have run away like a hound in a hornet’s nest.
Bass defines Marge’s constant and casual use of the N word. She referred to Dave Parker at the Millionaire N****r. She called Eric David the Trouble Maker N****r. Her nickname for Hall of Famer Joe Morgan was The Little N****r.
Her bigotry wasn’t limited to African Americans.
When her GM was closing a lucrative deal with Ticketmaster for her, she instructed him to watch his back because she didn’t trust those “sneaky Jews”.
She also didn’t like homosexuals.
She also didn’t approve of pre-marital sex. She fired Davey Johnson for living with his fiancé even though he won a Division title.
She didn’t like people purchasing “cars made by Japs”. She didn’t like it that Asian American kids outdid others in school.
She had a Nazi armband. She praised Adolf Hitler. “He was good at the beginning but went too far.”
Great gal, wasn’t she ? Marge Schott’s racism was so acute it bordered on the surreal.
Oil Can Boyd and Marge Schott are/were car wrecks. Oil Can ruined his career with drink and drugs. He made himself miserable. Marge Schott, as far as I can tell, made everyone around her unhappy.
These are two rare and strange birds, indeed.
Let’s count our lucky stars they don’t make them like that anymore.