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Lenny Dykstra
Center fielder
Born: February 10, 1963 (1963-02-10) (age 47)
Santa Ana, California
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
May 3, 1985 for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
May 18, 1996 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
Batting average     .285
Home runs     81
Runs batted in     404
Stolen bases     285
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Leonard Kyle (Lenny) Dykstra (pronounced /ˈdaɪkstrə/; born February 10, 1963 in Santa Ana, California, and also known as Nails[1]) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. Dykstra played for the New York Mets during the late 1980s before playing for the Philadelphia Phillies during the early 1990s. He threw and batted left-handed and played primarily as a leadoff hitter.

Contents

New York Mets

Dykstra was signed by the Mets as a 13th round draft pick in 1981. A star in the minors, in 1983 he led the Carolina League in at-bats, runs, hits, triples, batting average, and stolen bases with 105, which was a league record for 17 years. That season, he batted .358 with 8 HR, 81 RBI, and 105 stolen bases while recording 107 walks against just 35 strikeouts. He was consequently named the Carolina League's MVP. Dykstra soon emerged as one of the Mets' prized prospects, and while playing in AA in 1984, he befriended fellow outfielder and teammate Billy Beane. Beane would later say that Dykstra was "perfectly designed, emotionally" to play baseball and that he had "no concept of failure." According to Beane, his first comments upon seeing Steve Carlton warming up on the mound were, "Shit, I'll stick him."[2]

In 1985, Dykstra was deemed ready for the Major Leagues, and he was promoted to the Mets when the team's starting center fielder, Mookie Wilson, was forced to the disabled list. Dykstra's stellar play and high energy were a big boost to a Mets team that surged to a 98-win season and narrowly missed out on the NL East crown. The following season, Dykstra was slated to serve as part of a center field platoon with Wilson, but when Wilson suffered a severe eye injury during spring training, Dykstra began the season as the outright starter and leadoff hitter. Later that season, the Mets would release left fielder George Foster, with Wilson moving over to play left. Mets fans soon nicknamed Dykstra "Nails" for his tough-as-nails personality and fearless play. In 1986, he even removed his shirt to pose for a "beefcake" poster under the "Nails" nickname. Moreover, Dykstra and #2 hitter Wally Backman were termed the "Wild Boys" for their scrappy play and propensity to serve as the spark plugs for a star-studded lineup. Dykstra and Backman were equally wild off the field, as the 1986 Mets have since become one of the most notoriously raucous teams in history[citation needed].

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1986 season

With Dykstra batting in the lead-off spot, the 1986 Mets coasted to the division crown, outlasting the second-place Philadelphia Phillies by 21.5 games, en route to a 108–54 season. The Mets would eventually head to the World Series after a hard-fought victory over the NL West Champion Houston Astros in the 1986 NLCS. Dykstra will forever be remembered for his walk off home run in Game 3, which is considered one of the biggest hits in Mets franchise history and the definitive moment of Dykstra's career. Dykstra would bat .304 in the 1986 NLCS and later hit .296 in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. However, it was Dykstra's lead off home run in Game 3 of the World Series at Fenway Park that served as the spark for a Mets team that had fallen behind 2 games to none. The home run made him the 3rd Met in team history (along with Tommie Agee and Wayne Garrett, both of whose home runs also came in a Game 3, in the 1969 and 1973 World Series respectively) to hit a leadoff home run in the World Series. Following Dykstra's home run, the Mets rallied to defeat the Red Sox in seven games in one of the most memorable World Series of all time.

1987-1989

Following the Mets' World Championship, Dykstra would continue to serve as the team's sparkplug for several seasons. In the 1988 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dykstra continued his post season success by hitting .429 in a losing effort. However, Dykstra was traded to the Phillies on June 18, 1989, along with pitcher Roger McDowell and minor-league player Tom Edens for outfielder Juan Samuel.[3] Teammate Keith Hernandez later said in his book Pure Baseball that Dykstra was "on the wild and crazy side", which he cites as one of the reasons the Mets chose to trade him and the Phillies chose to acquire him.[4]

Philadelphia Phillies

Dykstra was initially upset over the trade as he enjoyed playing in New York; nevertheless, he was well liked in Philadelphia and soon became a fan favorite there as well. (According to former general manager Frank Cashen, the Phillies offered Dykstra back to the Mets after the 1989 season, but the Mets refused.) He was known for his trademark cheek full of tobacco and hard play.[5] With the Phillies, Dykstra's career was marked by incredible highs and lows. In 1990, he started in the All Star Game, led the league in hits, and finished fourth in batting average. He was batting over .400 into June.

Dykstra's next two seasons were marred by injury. In 1991, while driving drunk, he crashed his car into a tree on Darby-Paoli Road in Radnor Township. Teammate Darren Daulton, who was with him during the drunken incident, was also injured. Dykstra suffered fractured ribs, a broken cheekbone, and a fractured collarbone, which cost him two months. Later in 1991, Dykstra broke his collarbone again while playing in Cincinnati by running into the outfield wall and ended up missing the remainder of the season.

On Opening Day 1992, Dykstra was hit by a pitch that broke his hand. In all he played in just 145 of 324 possible games in the 1991 and 1992 seasons.

In 1993, it all seemed to come together for Dykstra and the Phillies. The team, which had been rebuilding since its last playoff appearance ten years previous, returned to the top of the National League East. He played in 161 games, setting a Major League record with 773 plate appearances. Despite being overlooked for the 1993 All-Star team, Dykstra led the league in runs, hits, walks, and at-bats, and was runner-up to Barry Bonds in voting for the Most Valuable Player of the National League. Dykstra's spark led the Phillies to the World Series, where they faced the Toronto Blue Jays. In the series, Dykstra batted .348 and hit four home runs, including two in a 15-14 Phillies loss in Game 4. The Phillies ultimately lost the series in six games.

Retirement

Injuries plagued Dykstra for the rest of his career. He last played in the 1996 season, and launched one final comeback attempt in Spring Training in 1998 before retiring at the age of 35. Since his retirement, Dykstra has run a car wash in Corona, California.

Dykstra was sued in relation to the car wash in 2005. The lawsuit, filed by former business partner Lindsay Jones, alleged that Dykstra used steroids and told Jones to place bets on Phillies games in 1993, when Dykstra was on the team. Dykstra denied the allegations.[6] Dykstra was also identified by others as using steroids during his career.[7]

Today, Dykstra manages his own stock portfolio, and serves as president of several of his privately held companies, including car washes; a partnership with Castrol in "Team Dykstra" Quick Lube Centers; a ConocoPhillips fueling facility; a real estate development company; and a new venture to develop several "I Sold It on eBay" stores throughout high-demographic areas of Southern California. He has also appeared on Fox News Channel's The Cost of Freedom business shows. With money received in these ventures he was able to purchase Wayne Gretzky's $17 million estate.

In 2002, Dykstra made a much-anticipated return to New York when he was elected as part of the Mets' 40th Anniversary All-Amazin Team. In 2006, Dykstra also returned to Shea Stadium as the Mets honored the 20th Anniversary of the 1986 World Championship team. Dykstra has recently voiced a greater desire to get back involved in baseball, and his name has been mentioned as a possible coach or manager for the Mets; and Dykstra has also recently served as a part-time instructor at Mets' spring training at their camp in Port St. Lucie. Dykstra returned to Flushing on September 28, 2008 for the Farewell to Shea Stadium ceremony held after the final game of the season.

Personal life

His son Cutter Dykstra was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 2008 MLB Draft.[8] He currently plays for the rookie league Helena Brewers.

His uncles Pete, Jack and Tony Leswick all played in the National Hockey League.

Lenny's wife Terri Dykstra filed for divorce in April, 2009.[9]

Lenny's brothers have both accused him of fraud. One, a former business partner in California car washes claims he was owed $4 million, or 10% of the value when sold. He has also been accused of using other people's credit cards to pay for his jet fuel and then not paying them back for it. Former employees of Dykstra including pilots say they were asked to pay for jet fuel with their own credit cards. It was reported that he even defrauded his own mother out of $13,000, when he called her up crying and begging her to use her credit card to pay for jet fuel.[10]

Business affairs and bankruptcy

In September 2008, Dykstra began a high-end jet charter company and magazine marketed towards professional athletes known as Player's Club,[11] LLC. The magazine was part of a business plan to offer financial advice to professional athletes, according to a profile article in the New Yorker magazine,[12] Dykstra has a website "Nails Investments" [13] with information about his investment ideas.

In early 2009 stories and evidence began to emerge that indicated Dykstra's financial empire was in a tailspin. A GQ article by Kevin Coughlin, a former photo editor for the New York Post, detailed Coughlin's 67-day employment with Dykstra producing The Players Club, a magazine geared toward athletes and their expensive lifestyles. It portrayed Dykstra in an unflattering light, as Coughlin detailed incidents accusing Dykstra of credit card fraud, failure to pay rent on the magazine's Park Avenue offices, bounced checks, lawsuits, and Dykstra's refusal to pay printing costs.[14]

An extensive article about an ESPN.com investigation in April 2009 went into greater detail, noting Dykstra has been the subject of at least two dozen legal actions since 2007.[15]

In July 2009, Dykstra, whose net worth was estimated at $58 million in 2008, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing fewer than $50,000 in assets against $10 million to $50 million in liabilities. Dykstra claimed to be a victim of mortgage fraud and lost a house purchased for $17.5 million from Wayne Gretzky to foreclosure.[16] The house is located at 1072 Newbern Court, Thousand Oaks, CA in the Sherwood Country Club development in Southern California. [17] 34°7′48.64″N 118°53′24.8″W / 34.1301778°N 118.890222°W / 34.1301778; -118.890222

According to press reports Dykstra will be representing himself in the bankruptcy proceeding.[18] According to the July 7, 2009 petition in the Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California [19] Dykstra's debts and creditors include: $12.9mm to Washington Mutual (unsecured), $4 mm to Countrywide Financial /Bank of America (unsecured), $3.5mm to Rockbridge Bank of Atlanta, $2.5mm to David and Teresa Litt [20] , $1.5mm to K&L Gates (a large law firm), and smaller amounts to others.

He was also touted as an investing "legend" by Jim Cramer. This incident was featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on July 14, 2009.

In August 2009, Dykstra was living out of his car and in hotel lobbies. The estate purchased from Gretzky was riddled with water damage, torn up flooring, missing toilets, among other things. His second home, also inside Sherwood Country Club, was vacant due to mold problems. He is currently in a dispute with his insurance company to fix the problems with his homes. The Fireman's Fund has provided Mr. and Mrs. Dykstra with a temporary residence until the issues with the homes are resolved.[21] According to court papers the Dykstra house was in "unshowable" condition as "the home was littered throughout with empty beer bottles, trash, dog feces and urine and other unmentionables." Raw sewage had been leaking inside the home and electrical wiring had been damaged or removed by vandals.[22][23]

On Sept. 13, 2009 it was announced that Dykstra's 1986 New York Mets World Series championship ring and trophy would be sold off. Auctioneers said they plan to sell a trove of memorabilia the former All-Star left unclaimed at a pawnshop in Beverly Hills. Each could sell for $20,000 or more. On October 6, 2009 the Wall Street Journal reported that Dykstra's World Series ring had been auctioned off for $56,762 "to help pay the former major-leaguer's $31 million debt."[24]

Incidents

At approximately 1AM on May 7, 1991, Dykstra crashed his red Mercedes-Benz SL 500[25] into a tree on Darby-Paoli Road in Radnor Township, PA after attending the bachelor party of teammate John Kruk. Dykstra suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone, and a broken facial bone. He also received second degree burns on his left arm and lower back. Darren Daulton (also a former teammate) was a passenger in the car at the time and his injuries included an injured eye and a broken facial bone. According to Radnor Township Police, Dykstra's blood alcohol content was measured at 0.179 percent at the time of the crash.[26]

In 1999, he was arrested for sexual harassment of a 17-year-old female who worked at his car wash, but the criminal charges were later dropped.[27]

In March 2009, it was alleged that Dykstra's businesses were facing financial ruin and that he had used offensive terms when speaking about Blacks, women, and homosexuals.[28]

In September 2009 Lenny Dykstra was banned from both of his foreclosed multi-million dollar properties in Lake Sherwood. Security officers have been instructed to deny access to Dykstra. He was accused of vandalizing the properties and not maintaining home owners insurance on the properties. A trustee was assigned by the courts to manage the properties.[29]

Mitchell Report

Dykstra was named in the Mitchell Report on steroid use in Major League Baseball on December 13, 2007. The report cited multiple sources, including Kirk Radomski, stating that Dykstra used anabolic steroids during his MLB career.[30] It also stated that the Commissioner of Baseball's office had known about Dykstra's steroid use since 2000. Dykstra did not agree to meet with the Mitchell investigators to discuss the allegations.[31]

On December 20, 2007, Dykstra was also named in Jason Grimsley's unsealed affidavit as an alleged user of steroids.[32]

See also

References

  1. ^ ESPN.com - Page2 - The List: Best nicknames
    in baseball history
  2. ^ Lewis, Michael (2003-04-10). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 45–47. ISBN. 
  3. ^ Durso, Joseph (1989-07-19). "Mets Get Samuel for McDowell, Dykstra". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/19/sports/mets-get-samuel-for-mcdowell-dykstra.html. Retrieved 2009-07-15. 
  4. ^ Hernandez, Keith (1995). Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan. New York: HarperCollins. p. 16. ISBN. 
  5. ^ James, Bill (2003-04-06). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. pp. p. 751. ISBN 0743227220. 
  6. ^ Ex-biz partner alleges Dykstra took steroids and HGH ESPN.com
  7. ^ E-Ticket: Who Knew? ESPN.com
  8. ^ Brewers continue family Draft ties | MLB.com: News
  9. ^ Lenny Dykstra's wife files for divorce Ventura County Star, April 24, 2009
  10. ^ You think your job sucks? Try working for Lenny Dykstra Kevin Coughlin, GQ
  11. ^ Player's Club Magazine, additional text.
  12. ^ "Nails Never Fails" by Ben McGrath, March 24, 2008
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ YOU THINK YOUR JOB SUCKS? TRY WORKING FOR LENNY DYKSTRA, GQ
  15. ^ Dykstra's business: a bed of 'Nails', ESPN.com
  16. ^ http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4313487
  17. ^ Article about listing
  18. ^ http://dealbreaker.com/2009/10/lenny-dykstra-objects-to-the-f.php
  19. ^ http://media.philly.com/documents/Dykstra+Bankruptcy+Filing.pdf
  20. ^ Mortgage banker and foreclosure specialists in Calabasas, CA, see All Valley Trustee website
  21. ^ Now Lenny Dykstra Takes On Insurance Industry, CNBC.com
  22. ^ Wall Street Journal blog December 30, 2009
  23. ^ Court papers bankruptcy case
  24. ^ Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, October 6, 2009, pg D8
  25. ^ Claire Smith. "New York Times - ON BASEBALL; Drunken Driving, a Transcendent Horror". http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=travel&res=9D0CE7D71F39F93BA35756C0A967958260&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fD%2fDrunken%20and%20Reckless%20Driving. Retrieved December 19, 2006. 
  26. ^ AP sports desk. "New York Times - BASEBALL; A Remorseful Dykstra Admits Error". http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20616FC3F540C778DDDAC0894D9494D81&n=Top%2fReference%2fTimes%20Topics%2fSubjects%2fD%2fDrunken%20and%20Reckless%20Driving. Retrieved December 19, 2006. 
  27. ^ http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/1999/11/30/archive/main72446.shtml?source=search_story
  28. ^ http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2009/03/16/2009-03-16_lenny_dykstra_formerly_of_the_mets_is_na.html
  29. ^ http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/sep/17/guards-block-access-to-dykstras-lake-sherwood/
  30. ^ "List of Major League Baseball players listed in Mitchell Report". chron.com (Houston Chronicle). 13 December 2007. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/bb/5376638.html. Retrieved 2007-12-14. 
  31. ^ "Mitchell Report pp. 66-7, 72, 149-50" (PDF). http://assets.espn.go.com/media/pdf/071213/mitchell_report.pdf. 
  32. ^ "Affidavit: Grimsley named players". CNN. 2007-12-20. http://www.cnn.com/2007/SPORT/12/20/drugs.grimley.ap/index.html?eref=rss_latest. Retrieved 2007-12-31. 

Further reading

External links


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