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The saga of Oil Can Boyd is a sad one. On July 10, upon learning
that he hadn't been selected to the All-Star team, he went into a
tirade, spouting invective at everyone in his path, including three
people who have long defended him: manager John McNamara, teammate
Al Nipper and team physician Arthur Pappas, one of the Red Sox
owners. ''I've been in this game for 34 years, and it was the worst
thing I've ever seen,'' says McNamara. ''He's lost even his last
friends,'' says one player. Boyd left the ballpark and didn't show
up the next night for a game with the A's, earning him $6,450 in
fines and a three-day suspension. (Boyd showed up Sunday at Fenway
and, after a meeting with club officials, apologized to teammates
behind closed doors.) Even before the outburst, the Red Sox were
concerned that Boyd's fastball had dropped from 88 mph to 82. In his
last start, he was in the 70s by the sixth inning. If Boyd does not
return to his first-half form, the loss of a potential 20-game winner
to a staff that has had five pitchers injured could let the Blue Jays
and Yankees back into the race. . . . Reggie Jackson may have gone
from May 14 to July 11 without a homer, but at age 40 he also is
making a run at .300 for only the second time in his career (he hit
.300 in 1980). ''I could still hit 25 homers and bat .250,'' he says,
''but the man (manager Gene Mauch) wants me to make contact and hit
this way. I don't put the ball in the air; I'm hitting more like Jim
Rice than Jim Rice is this year, but I'm also hitting the ball hard
and getting walks. I just hope that I can play another year. I'd
like to go back to the Angels, retire after '87 and tip my cap
goodbye around the league, but they may not want me. I'm sure I could
go back to the Yankees, but I don't want to.'' . . . Some owners
say the success of the Giants only makes it easier for Bob Lurie to
move the team out of town, especially because the high cost of a
proposed new stadium in San Francisco is a concern of city officials.
In a letter to Lurie, Mayor Dianne Feinstein says that $40 million
-- not the projected $50 million -- is the cost ceiling for the
stadium, adding, ''I just want to make sure we are getting the cost
analysis of a Buick and not a Cadillac.'' . . . When Atlanta's Dale
Murphy finally agreed to sit down and end his 740 consecutive- game
streak, the mediator was teammate Ted Simmons. Murphy wanted a day
off, but couldn't bring himself to ask manager Chuck Tanner. Out of
respect for the superstar, Tanner wouldn't bench Murphy. So Simmons
went to Tanner and said that Murphy needed a rest. Simmons then told
Murphy that the streak was wearing him out. Murphy finally sat down
by mutual agreement.


JERRY WACHTER Jackson, who is now more a contact hitter, could have a .300 season at age 40.