h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Dennis Oil Can Boyd

For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

Dennis Boyd - back 1987 Dennis Boyd - Front 1987

At a certain point, Dennis Boyd’s nickname became so popular that it was actually on the front of his card instead of his real name. Heck even his Baseball Reference page lists his first name as “Oil Can.”

PED-alarmists need not worry though – ‘oil’ did not refer to Boyd somehow doctoring the ball en route to his 78 career wins. In reality, ‘oil’ was, at one time, a Mississippi slang term for beer. So, in reality, it was Dennis Beer Can Boyd. But that does not have quite the same ring to it as Oil Can Boyd.

However, don’t let his paltry win total or alcohol-derived nickname fool you, Boyd remained a competitor until his 40s. In fact, according to Baseball Reference, he pitched as a 37-year-old in 1997 and went 6-2 with a 3.72 ERA for the Massachusetts Mad Dogs.

While he was basically a league average pitcher (4.04 ERA and 4.00 FIP), he’ll always been remembered by kids who grew up in the 80s and wondered what his nickname actually meant. Back then, we really didn’t have the internet.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Never would have guessed oil can meant beer! Loving it, keep up the good work!!


  2. Sure thing Joe. Thanks so much for reading and enjoying!!!

    I am having a lot of fun with this series. I should have a 1973 Buckner version up earlt this morning, then a 1991 Sosa, 87 Gwynn and 87 Paul Zuvella sometime next week.

    I just bought a scanner so I won’t have to do random internet searches for card photos. Hurray!!!!


  3. Posted by Mike on September 15, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Boyd went nuts one year when he didn’t make the All-Star team. Don’t laugh too hard. He was a poor man’s (very poor) Pedro Martinez. Weighed next to nothing, but pitched with his fingertips, like Pedro, whose large hands generate his stuff. Red Sox fans knew where the Oil Can came from… Like your series.


  4. Posted by Albert Lang on September 15, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Oh yeah, by all accounts and my shady memory from 18 years ago he was somewhat like Carlos Zamrbano on the mound — very unnerving.

    I always liked him as a pitcher, but never really new why. The nickname was clearly part of it, but his demonstrative mound presence was a thing to watch.


  5. […] the glorious afternoon of September 21, 1982. Traber went 1/4 as the starting DH as Oil Can Boyd (FLIP SIDE HERE) pitched a complete game […]


  6. […] simply (and I think I’ve written this before), I long for the days of players like Schoolboy Rowe who liquefied greenies and chewed tobacco. In […]


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