Oil Can Boyd

One of 14 children of Negro Leaguer Willie James Boyd, the flamboyant, moody, and high-strung Oil Can is one of baseball’s underachievers, plagued by a hot temper and persistent shoulder problems. Boyd emerged as one of the AL’s top starters in 1985, pitching 272.1 innings despite an emaciated-looking 6’2″ 160-lb frame, fanning 12 batters in a game twice, and winning 15 games. At the same time, he became disliked around the league for his cocky demeanor and animated fist-pumping and finger-wagging on the mound. In 1986 Boyd had 11 wins by mid-July, but flew into a rage when he was left off the All-Star squad and was suspended by the Red Sox before checking into a hospital with emotional problems. He returned in August to add five more wins during Boston’s pennant run, but a recurring blood clot in his right shoulder forced him onto the DL five times from 1987 to 1989 and has threatened to end his career. His nickname comes from his Mississippi hometown, where beer is called oil.

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