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Oil Be Seein' Ya

Jan. 31, 2005
Jan. 31, 2005

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Jan. 31, 2005

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Oil Be Seein' Ya

Eighties ace Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd wants to menace batters again

Edited by Mark Bechtel

He's 45 now, with a few extra pounds on his wiry frame and a less lively fastball, but in terms of self-esteem Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd is in his prime. "I'm blessed with a persona where people want to see Oil Can Boyd pitch," says the colorful righthander, a fixture in the Red Sox rotation and Boston's tabloids in the 1980s. The Can is giving the people what they want: Fourteen years after his last major league start, he's mounting a comeback with the independent Brockton (Mass.) Rox this season.

This is an article from the Jan. 31, 2005 issue Original Layout

Like his hero, Satchel Paige, Boyd wants to pitch into middle age and beyond. He says he's healthy--his career was cut short by blood clots in his shoulder--and is throwing nearly 90 mph, almost as hard as he did when he went 78--77 in 10 major league seasons. "He's smart and has a world of confidence," says Rox manager Ed Nottle. "I think he'll be fine."

Boyd hopes the comeback will stir interest in Oil Can Boyd's Traveling Baseball Show, a barnstorming team of ex--major leaguers he's launching in 2006. (He also dreams of owning a minor league team.) But Boyd, who famously erupted when he wasn't chosen for the 1986 All-Star Game, is after more than publicity. "If they pick an All-Star team in this league, I will make it," he says. And if he doesn't? "I might throw a fit."

COLOR PHOTODAVID BURNETT (SI COVER)RECYCLED CAN Boyd (on SI in 1986, inset) made a comeback with the Massachusetts Mad Dogs in '97.COLOR PHOTOJIM ROGASH/AP (BOYD PITCHING)   [See caption above.]