05 Jul

fenway flashback

Oil Can Boyd rocked and fired and threw a strike to Rich Gedman. Kinda like old times at Fenway Park. But on Thursday, the pair of former Boston teammates were on the field at Polar Park in Worcester, Mass., taking part in a first-pitch ceremony honoring Boyd, the Meridian native and ex-Jackson State star. For their Throwback Thursday promotion, the Worcester Red Sox — Boston’s Triple-A affiliate — invited Boyd, 64, as the special guest. A July 4 crowd of 9,400-plus, including a large contingent of Boyd’s family and friends, cheered on The Can, who gave a brief speech in which he toasted Gedman, the WooSox’s hitting coach and Boyd’s batterymate in Boston in the 1980s. “A southern kid from Mississippi and a northern kid from Worcester, Massachusetts, made a connection that lasts for life,” Boyd said, per an article in the Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Drafted in 1980, Boyd came up in the Red Sox’s system but never pitched in Worcester; the team moved there from Pawtucket in 2021. He debuted in MLB in 1982 and enjoyed a colorful and complicated career, winning 78 games and losing 77. He and Gedman were on the Red Sox’s ill-fated World Series team in 1986. Boyd pitched in independent ball into his 40s and is credited with 152 wins all told in pro ball.

08 May

history report

From the Off the Beaten Path file: It was 25 years ago today, Mother’s Day ’94, that the Colorado Silver Bullets became the first women’s team to play against a men’s professional team. The starting pitcher for the men’s team, the Northern League All-Stars, was Meridian native and former major leaguer Oil Can Boyd. The first batter he faced ripped a single off the glove of the second baseman. “My stuff’s so sore, I can’t get a woman out,” Boyd, per a Los Angeles Times story, said in the dugout after retiring the side. The All-Stars, a collection of independent leaguers and ex-big leaguers, were generally dismissive of the Silver Bullets, according to the Times story, and showed them no mercy, winning the game 19-0 at Fort Mill, S.C. Leon Durham, 37 at the time, hit two homers. The Silver Bullets, managed by Phil Niekro, toured the country for four seasons, playing – and beating — men’s indy league, semi-pro and amateur teams. They played twice against amateur teams at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson, going 1-1.

20 Oct

the other matchup

Forget Young-Dickey and Hendricks-deGrom for a moment. How about Clemens-Boyd? There is a fairly compelling pitching matchup tonight in Tempe, Ariz., when 354-game winner Roger Clemens goes against fellow former Boston Red Sox star Oil Can Boyd in Men’s Senior Baseball League action. Meridian native and ex-Jackson State star Boyd, 56, pitches for the Boston Wolf Pack, Clemens, 53, for the Houston Old Stars. Boyd went 78-77 in 10 big league seasons (1982-91) and pitched for many more years in independent ball. Clemens last pitched in the majors in 2007 but threw in indy ball just a couple years ago. Regardless of what kind of stuff either has left, it should be a good show. P.S. Cody Satterwhite, the former Hillcrest Christian and Ole Miss standout, is currently pitching in the Mexican Pacific League. Satterwhite, in his eighth pro season, posted a 4.38 ERA, two wins and two saves for Triple-A Las Vegas in the New York Mets’ system. The big right-hander is still chasing the big league dream.

06 Oct

thinking october

Dennis Boyd, better known as “Oil Can,” celebrates his 55th birthday today. The colorful and controversial Meridian native and ex-Jackson State star was a respectable 78-77 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 big league seasons, from 1982-91. His best year was 1986, when he won 16 games for the Boston Red Sox. Boyd won a game in the ’86 American League Championship Series against California but lost his only start in the World Series, which the BoSox infamously dropped in seven to the New York Mets. Boyd put a stain on his own career when he claimed in a recent biography that he frequently pitched under the influence of cocaine, even in 1986. … More deserving of an October shout out is Chad Bradford, the Jackson native of “Moneyball” fame. Bradford pitched in seven different postseasons for five different teams. In 23 1/3 innings over 24 appearances, he allowed one run. That’s a 0.39 ERA. In the October spotlight. Bradford made it to only one World Series and was on the losing end with Tampa Bay in 2008. The former Byram High, Hinds Community College and Southern Miss star put up a 3.26 ERA in 561 MLB games. He is now the pitching coach at HCC. … Another October achievement to marvel at was accomplished by Mississippi State product Will Clark. Clark was 29-for-62, a .468 batting average, in League Championship Series play. That’s a record by a wide margin for players with at least 50 LCS at-bats. Clark also came up short of winning a World Series ring. His only appearance in the Fall Classic came in 1989, when his San Francisco club lost to Oakland in the Earthquake Series.