Notes from the BoSox Club Luncheon - June 25, 2019

The June 25 lunch was held at the familiar Hilton Hotel in Dedham, and began with BoSox Club President Jim Parker recognizing our three military guests.  For the first time, two of the military guests were a married couple.

Head table guests included Red Sox rookie First and Second Baseman Michael Chavis, the "Ice Horse", Red Sox alumni Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, and emcee Josh Lewin, WEEI announcer, along with four distinguished board members.

One of our past presidents, Ed Keohane (2005-06), was called to the podium to remind us of how things have been for the BoSox Club in the past.  He discussed the state of the Red Sox at the time, after the 2004 championship.  Notably, 2005 was the year that Pedro Martinez became a free agent and signed with the Mets.

Due to contractual obligations, Michael Chavis was unable to sign autographs, but was more than happy to take pictures with all of the lunch attendees.  'Oil Can' had a line for autographs, and by the smile on his face, was very much enjoying interacting with guests.

Josh Lewin of WEEI opened up by noting the #23 lunch theme, as 23 is the number worn by Chavis and the number that was worn by Oil Can Boyd.

Recognizing the time sensitivity of Michael Chavis, who would be playing first base in the game later that day, Josh quickly put a microphone in his hand and loosened him up by poking fun at the beard he was maintaining.  Michael responded, laughing, that a few days earlier he had the opportunity to get beard tips from Mike Napoli, and is doing his best.

Chavis expressed that his social personality is able to come to life playing first (and second) base.  As opponents are standing there, he is talking to them.  He wanted to let us know that the overwhelming majority of players talk about how special it is to play in Fenway Park, that it is the best atmosphere.

It is no secret that Michael Chavis has a thing with the number 11.  He has tweeted 11:11 hundreds of times.  We heard why.  He was born on August 11, he was 11 pounds at birth, his favorite baseball player, Gary Sheffield, wore the number 11.  For his first baseball team, he wore the number 11.  While 11:11 may be a time that some people make a wish, Chavis, being religious, will say a little prayer instead.

To wrap up with him, Josh looked to the night ahead with the White Sox.  Michael was expecting power and fastballs from the pitchers, but expressed that he has to be ready for anything.  We gave him one more large round of applause and whistles, and he went off waving with a big smile on his face.

Then it was time for Dennis 'Oil Can' Boyd to step up and address the audience.  He played for the Red Sox from 1982-89, and was a starting pitcher during the 1986 World Series playoffs with the Mets.

The big question for someone retired being, what are you up to now?  I am happy to report that he is in excellent spirits and living well, waking up and falling asleep to the Red Sox, always proud to have been a part of such a great organization.  He is currently having fun playing ball in various infield positions with many old friends, getting together and reminiscing about old times, and spending time with family.  His children are growing up with baseball and he loves to see their passion for the game too.

It was discussed how much baseball has changed over 30 years.  The charismatic Can portrayed an old school 'just let them play' attitude where there was room for emotional outings, flamboyant personalities, and the occasional ball that may have strayed towards the batter (which was probably an old friend) on purpose.  Opponents were instigated.  Fights broke out on the field.  He referred to the game at times as 'hockey baseball'.  Now, let's fast forward to 2019.  There has been a 'technical revolution' such that pitchers need to be concerned with statistics and other things like never before.  The game has very much evolved.  He also mentioned that while he never pitched an immaculate inning, he did get close twice, and acknowledged that what Chris Sale accomplished this year is very rare and something special.

Lastly, Oil Can expressed he has been working to bring back the passion for the game to young African Americans and to make a difference in communities that are primarily black and may be struggling with violence and drugs.

Josh finished up and thanked the room, then turned over the microphone to Scott Cyr, who began the raffle.  Winners were called all over the room. The young man that won the three prizes at the last lunch was lucky enough to win a framed picture of Clay Buchholz this time.  Bruce Donahue, who usually works the raffle as well, had experienced a fall and injured his knee, and was unable to assist due to being confined to a wheelchair while he heals.

By Amy Allen

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