Oil Can to Ottawa?

The Voyageurs of the Can-Am league may be adding a veteran to their staff:

Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who has been known to say a lot, once said that he wanted to be “playing baseball at age 50 — if not professionally, for a semi-pro or local team.”

Boyd thinks he was 10 years old when he said that. Almost 40 years later, 18 seasons after striking out his last major league hitter, and seven months shy of his 50th birthday, the colourful Boyd hopes to realize his dream in Ottawa with the Cam-Am Baseball League Voyageurs . . .

. . . “The ball is coming out of my hand free and easy for the first time in years. I just want to prove I can throw 100 pitches for 30 starts and dominate.”

He said he still has his repertoire of fastball, 12-to-6 curve, changeup and screwball, and that he’s adding a “hard” knuckleball.

He had me at “knuckleball.”

(thanks to Neate Sager for the heads up)

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  1. Jason @ IIATMS said...

    Is it wrong that I thought it was the Can-Am Voyeurs? 

    /Never coming here again directly after hitting Deadspin

  2. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    It’s a legit story. I saw him pitch several times in 2005. Obviously, he’s transitioned into a junkballer, but he was able to make guys half his age look foolish primarily because he consistently throws for strikes (12BB in 110.1 IP), and most guys in indy ball are “cripple” hitters.

  3. Pete Toms said...

    Opening Day in Ottawa is May 28!  Lookin forward to “The Can” toin the rubber!

    Most guys in this league are recently released from A ball (and at that, were organizational players). 

    The second seasono of Can-Am in Ottawa is more than 2 months away and yet the club is on its 3rd nickname!  Welcome to the indy world.

    Better than no ball at all.

  4. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...


    The plurality of players in the Can-Am League are collegiate players that went undrafted. This is because roster rules *require* that a *mininum* of five (5) players out of the 22-man roster be rookies (read: less than 75AB for batters, 30IP for pitchers)

    Those same roster rules also limit teams to no more than four veterans (more than five seasons of professional baseball) and no more than four players with four-plus seasons of professional experience.

    That means that 14 of the 22 players on Can-Am League roster have spent three (3) seasons or fewer in professional baseball, independent or affiliated.

  5. Pete Toms said...

    Wooden, I don’t know if we agree on the definition of “organizational player”.  I define it as not being considered a prospect.  I don’t think the amount of their experience in affiliated ball impacts on that.  I.E.  I watched AAA here for 15 years and saw hundreds of “organizational” players who had long careers in affiliated ball. (damn good players too)  I don’t think these players in the Can-Am released from low or hi A were considered legit prospects.  I’m a pretty avid BA reader and I never recognize the names of these guys.

    BTW, which Can-Am city do you reside in?

  6. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Pete – I define it as a guy that’s too old for his level or has been with the organization for more than three years. Generally speaking, that’s 24 years old for high-A, 23 for low-A.

    For AAA, I’m sure those definitions are different, but usually a guy that makes it to AAA for any appreciable time will almost always be classified as a veteran by the Can-Am League. Guys that also make it that high generally end up in the Atlantic League, and even guys with AA experience are few and far between.

    I did notice that the league has recently added some amendments that deal with age (essentially diminishing the odds of a 24- or 25-year-old being classified a veteran). When I was a season-ticket holder (‘03-‘05) to the North Shore Spirit (Lynn, MA), it was purely league-service time (hence, why collegiate players were so sought-after).

    My guess is that the newer indy leagues (Golden, United, Continental) must have been attracting more and more of the collegiate players due to proximity. Likewise, I’ve also noticed that a fair of the flameouts that go to the Can-Am are coming from the Carolina League, so perhaps I’m half-wrong, too.

    I wish I could recommend to you a good site for fans of the CanAm League, but ever since Craig Pina’s nefan.net went dark, it’s been pretty sparse.

  7. Pete Toms said...

    Wooden, Atlantic League is definitely vastly superior to the other indy leagues.  It is pretty much a 4A league. 

    Is Can-Am stable?  I read that league attendance was down significantly last year.  Our local owners went bust after 1 season and the league is operating the franchise now…I know there is new ownership in Nashua? also (Duquette’s group) and maybe one other city?  I know this isn’t unusual in the indy realm.

  8. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Pete – The Atlantic League is indeed a 4A league; it promotes and positions itself as much.

    The CanAm is probably more stable than your average indy league, but that’s like saying upstate N.Y. isn’t losing jobs as fast as Ohio.

    Two of the franchises (New Jersey, 1998 and Quebec, 1999) have been operating continuously since the late 1990s. A third franchise, Brockton, has been operating since 2002.

    Two other franchises are refugees from the Atlantic League—Atlantic City and the team formerly known as the Nashua Pride (Dan Duquette is now a part-owner). However, both franchises have been operating continuously since 1998.

    The other three franchises are expansions to replace teams that had folded: Worcester replaced the Grays (a travelling team formed when the Bangor Lumberjacks folded in 2004), Sussex replaced the Elmira Pioneers in 2006, and Ottawa rounded out the league when the resurrected Grays, the North Shore Spirit and the New Haven County Cutters were folded after the 2007 season.

    The Ottawa franchise has survived primarily because Miles Wolff is determined to have a second Canadian franchise as opposed to creating the Grays yet again or dropping down to six teams, which the league has done before, when it was known as the Northeast League (the official website will make it sound like they were founded in 2005, but seven of those eight teams were in the Northeast League in 2004, six in 2003, and five in 2002).

    As you might have seen, the average has been one-in, one-out for quite some time. 2008-2009 might just be the first time ever in the league’s 15 years that all eight cities remained the same in consecutive cities.

  9. Pete Toms said...

    Wooden – wow, you are up on your Can-Am. 

    Agreed, Wolff is operating the team here because the alternative is a “road only” franchise again.  Also because he owns the Quebec City franchise (the most successful in the league) he has an interest in seeing Ottawa take root.  He also has aspirations to expand to Montreal but there is no suitable facility there.

    Last season’s owners recently filed a Statement of Claim against Wolff, the league and some of their executives, the City of Ottawa…..you can read it here if you want (I’ve only yet scanned it)



  10. Pete Toms said...

    Wooden, guess I’m wrong.  I knew there were roster rules but obviously I’m not up to speed on them.  I thought a lot of the guys here last season were A ball refugees, but I guess they weren’t.

  11. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Most of the guys with affiliated experience (that aren’t veterans) are A-ball flameouts, but you wouldn’t call them “organizational guys”—they usually have only one or two seasons’ experience.

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