Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd Says Cocaine Cost Numerous Career Wins, Opportunities

Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd Says Cocaine Cost Numerous Career Wins, Opportunities

Dramatic sleep loss from cocaine use cost Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, famed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, dozens of wins, says the retired player. Boyd’s recent testimony in a USA Today article points to the need for ongoing and extensive drug testing for professional athletes, as the former Red Sox pitcher says he never experienced a drug test during the span of his cocaine use, starting in the early 1980s.

Boyd is credited for helping win nearly 80 games across a decade-long stint as a major league pitcher, but said at a presentation recently that cocaine was pumping through his body for two-thirds of those games and came with a high price.

Cocaine, a powerful stimulant, leads to sleeplessness, restless, anxiety and hyperactivity, among many other life-threatening side effects. Boyd said that in several cases, he took the pitcher’s mound after having stayed up the entire night before due to cocaine use. Had he gotten more sleep, says Boyd, he believes his victories could have exceeded 150 games.

Boyd does admit that he was encouraged to stop using cocaine with the possibility of rehab, but that he continued using the drug anyway. Looking back, Boyd now says his heavy cocaine use was a reaction to some very negative events he experienced as a child and that the drug became a destructive coping tool.

His peers tried to help him break the habit, Boyd says, but the habit still cost him the ability to experience his glory days of assisting the Red Sox in 1986 participate in the World Series. He was also bypassed for an All-Star spot and didn’t get to pitch a particular game in the World Series stint – an experience that haunts him to this day.

Alcohol abuse also marks Boyd’s past, with the “Oil Can” stemming from beer he consumed as a teen. Today Boyd hopes his presentations and other activities will help reach troubled young people and prevent them from making similar mistakes.

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