Former Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd joined Dennis & Callahan for a bizarre interview Friday morning to talk about his forthcoming autobiography and his admission that he regularly used drugs during his memorable 1986 season. Before angrily hanging up on the hosts after being warned not to swear so much, Boyd told D&C he still smokes marijuana daily, accused Hall of Famer Wade Boggs of being a bigot who regularly used the n-word when they were teammates in Boston, and claimed that he performed at less than half of capability and would be in the Hall of Fame had he taken better care of his body.
Boyd, whose book is "They call me Oil Can: Baseball, drugs and life on the edge," said he was raised in a household in Mississippi where alcohol abuse was prevalent, and he had no way to escape it.
"I experienced drinking when I was small because I had parents that drank. I had uncles that drank, grandparents that drank, uncles and aunts, cousins and friends, everybody," he said. "I grew up in that environment, seeing people drink cheap whiskey all the time and destroy their lives. Basically, it was really not destroy your life, your life is already destroyed. You're a slave descendent. So, this is some kind of way to drown your sorrows type thing."
Boyd said he was introduced to cocaine after joining the Red Sox, after relying on liquor and marijuana until then. Asked if he would have been a better player had he been sober, Boyd gave a rambling, contradictory response.
"I have been under the influence of cocaine on the mound, but it's a difference if you're talking about, 'Did I smoke it five minutes before I went out to pitch?' No. No. I might have smoked it that night [before], and then go to bed and got up and went and pitched the next day, if you understand where I'm coming from.
"So, I can't say. I can say that I would have been better. I don't regret that at all, not in an arrogant way. There's a lot of things to testify to the attitude why I would take that and say it like that. I don't regret it. I don't. It's an abomination. A lot of people's lives are in despair behind this -- I would call it, it's more than a menace to society. It's really, really bad. There's a lot of stuff going on out there in the real world.
"The whole thing is, I was 16-10 [in 1986]. I missed a month, and I was 16-10. And even being 16-10, I still felt like I should have been 20-6, if you understand what I'm saying. That's how good a ballplayer I was. Yes, I did take for granted how good a ballplayer I was. I was blessed with a very uncanny, super ability to play baseball."
Added Boyd: "I wasn't ready for all the other [expletive] that came with pitching in the major leagues."
Asked if he was high during the interview, Boyd said yes.
"I smoke pot. Yes, I do," he said. "I've been doing it since I was 12 years old."
Added Boyd: "When there ain't no more [marijuana] out there, then maybe you can ask me that question. I do the best I can. I fight day in and day out for the last 25 years. This ain't no new thing. For the last 25 years. And I'm doing real well. But I don't think about it like that. I don't dwell, like I did. I learn about the substance and I learn about what it was about and and how it affects me and how it was with me in my life."
Asked if he would be better off now or during his baseball career if he would have stopped using drugs, Boyd replied: "It don't work like that. I got 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. And I feel like this: If I'd have went to bed and got my rest, I'd have been in New York, in Cooperstown, in the Hall of Fame. I wasn't no good ballplayer, I was a great baseball player."
When it was suggested that Boyd could have lasted in the majors longer than the age of 31 had he stayed clean, Boyd began to get agitated, insisting he still could have pitched long after that.
"Let me tell you something: I was the best athlete on the field, period. Period. On any ball team I played on, I'm the best athlete on the field," he said. "Sober, drunk, high, whatever you want to call it, nobody was a better athlete than me on the field. Nobody. So, it wasn't my ability to get the job done that cut [my career] short.
"I can only say that I would be better. But if you guys would have never knew, if I would have never told anyone anything about my life, you would have said, 'He was a pretty good ballplayer.' Man, let me tell you something, I wasn't even at 45 percent of the ballplayer that I could be. And they thought I could pitch. They thought I was a good ballplayer."
Boyd's problems with Boggs have been well publicized. Asked if he thought Boggs was a bigot, Boyd said: "I don't think it, I know it. He was raised like that. His daddy was. I've spoken with his dad. His dad was. The boy was raised like that. All of it aint his fault. Huh. All of it ain't his fault. It's inherited. It's passed down."
Added Boyd: "He used the word nigger every day. Every day. … Every day it come out of his mouth. Every day. Yeah, he talked about just like it wasn't [expletive], like it was common talk. He learned that. That's not uncommon for a kid that grew up in Florida."
Asked if he called out Boggs for his behavior, Boyd said: "Every damn time he did it. That's why there was so much controversy with me. But the bottom line was that's just the way Wade is. I was made out to be the bad guy because I questioned that [expletive]."
Asked if he felt the Red Sox organization was bigoted, Boyd said: "If you protect that [behavior] right there, what would you call it?"
Boyd did say that he had a number of close friends on the Sox, especially reserve infielder Ed Jurak, as well as Marty Barrett and Rich Gedman. Boyd insisted none of his teammates used drugs with him. "I didn't hang out with them like that," he said.
Boyd became especially agitated when revisiting the end of his MLB career. He said he had plenty left in him when the Red Sox cut him loose in 1989. He briefly pitched for the Expos and Rangers before leaving the majors for good in 1991. Yet, he insisted teams had no reason to give up on him, as he had never failed a drug test.
"Ain't nobody caught me with no drugs. I ain't Dwight Gooden. I ain't Steve Howe. I ain't Darryl Strawberry. I admit what I did, but ain't nobody never test me with [expletive] and caught me with nothing, nowhere, no how," he said, his voice rising to a yell. "I ain't never missed a plane. I ain't never missed a bus. I ain't never missed a cab. I ain't never did any of that [expletive] they did. That's why people didn't catch me. I didn't give them no reason to."
Added Boyd later, as part of a profanity-laced tirade that ended with him hanging up the phone: "Ain't nobody caught me with nothing. You keep missing the point. Ain't nobody caught me with [expletive]. … You asked me something personal, I'm going to tell how the [expletive] it is. They let people play that they caught continuously, and let them play. They let them all play. They let all of them play. They let them play. Damn that."