Oil Can Boyd, Dave Henderson, Ellis Burks
These are a few more players who were very good for the Red Sox in the 1980s but didn’t make the cut as one of their top ten players of the decade. Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd pitched the first eight seasons of his career (1982-1989) for the Red Sox and compiled a 60-56 W-L record, a 4.52 ERA, and 571 strikeouts. He best seasons were 1984-1986 when he won double-digit games and he went 16-10 in 1986.
He was also known for his colorful personality and substance abuse problems and he let the team down by getting drunk during the rain-induced day off between games six and seven of the World Series, forcing the team to turn to Bruce Hurst on short rest. Still, Boyd was an important part of those competitive 1980s Sox teams.
Ellis Burks was supposed to be the next great Red Sox center fielder and for a time it looked like he’d live up to that. He spent the first six seasons (and the final one) of his eighteen year career in Boston and put up some nice numbers during that time. From 1987-1990, Burks hit .291 with 71 home runs and 301 RBI. Knee and back injuries slowed him down and he left as a free agent after the 1992 season.
Burks came full circle when he returned to the Red Sox for his final season in 2004 and won a World Series ring to cap his career. The final honorable mention is for a player who didn’t even spend a full season with the Red Sox, Dave Henderson. He spent the second half of the 1986 season and the first half of the 1987 season with the team but will forever be known for his two dramatic hits in game five of the 1986 ALCS.
Down to their last strike and facing elimination, Henderson lofted a three-run home run over the fence to give the Red Sox the lead. Later in extra innings, his sacrifice fly drove in the winning run. After winning that series in seven games, Henderson hit .400 with two more home runs in the World Series.