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They get a kick from the Can
Jim Kaplan
June 03, 1985
The Red Sox are wild about the gifted and goofy Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd
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June 03, 1985

They Get A Kick From The Can

The Red Sox are wild about the gifted and goofy Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd

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"I had a leadoff hitter who drag-bunted with the bat behind his back," says Boyd. "My fielders would turn two by throwing the ball between their legs. A first baseman named Bud Moore said to throw to him in the dirt so he could pick it and look good. When I punched a guy out, I'd say, 'Get outta here—next guy up.' To hotdog was the way to play."

The bony Boyd may look weak, but he developed strong triceps and leg muscles growing up and reduced his body fat to 4% by shoveling sod and lifting granite slabs while working for his father as a landscape laborer. He attended Jackson State, where he learned to pitch intelligently from one of his coaches, the former Cardinal pitcher Scipio Spinks. Drafted by the Red Sox in the 16th round in June 1980, he arrived to stay on May 30 last year and finished 12-12.

At the end of the season, he was named the club's Unsung Hero by Boston writers. Boyd has now settled in a Chelsea, Mass. condo with his girl friend, Karen Ramos, and their Doberman pup, Doby. The dog watches cartoons with Boyd and drinks a little beer now and then. "I love it when Doby gets drunk," he says. "She starts jumping and biting."

This week the Can will cut a radio commercial for—what else?—hot dogs. That's the Can. So was the madcap fellow who purchased a huge mirror and framed picture of a flower in Cleveland and carried them to Minneapolis and Dallas last week, apparently unconvinced such items could be had in Boston. And so was the calm and besuited character whose conversation impressed some advertising people over lunch the other day at the Harvard Club of Boston.

Boston fans are already comparing Boyd with Luis Tiant, another colorful pitcher who wore No. 23 and won 20 games three times for the Sox in the mid-1970s. Sensing a legend in the making, Cambridge, Mass. country singer John Lincoln Wright turned to rhythm and blues and wrote and recorded Oil Can.

In the vernacular, the Can's bad,
he's spectacular
He's gonna win a whole lotta ball games
for the Hose
He'll get those rockin' chair innings,
but he's only just beginning
For he's hyper, he's a sniper, he's a viper,
heaven knows.
Oil Can!


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