Players like Lenny Dykstra are often hard to find today in baseball.
The hard nosed, center-field gritted outfielder slugged his way to helping the New York Mets win the World Series in 1986.
“Lenny was so perfectly designed, emotionally, to play the game of baseball,” his former Mets teammate Billy Beane said in Michael Lewis’s 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. “He was able to instantly forget any failure and draw strength from every success. He had no concept of failure. And he had no idea where he was.”
However, the man who was nicknamed “Nails,” eventually become more known for his off the field incidents than on the field.
Lenny Dykstra, 57, reveled in his bad boy image with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during his MLB days.
Retirement from the game brought him legal troubles that would cloud his baseball legacy.
What happened to him after baseball and where is he today?
Dykstra was selected by the New York Mets in 13th round of the 1981 draft.
The center fielder rose through the minor leagues and made his major league debut on May 3, 1985.
Mets fans quickly nicknamed him “Nails” because of his prickly personality and aggressive style of play.
Dykstra was an integral part of the Mets’ success in 1986; the Mets defeated the Red Sox in the World Series.
— Phil Curtolo (@mister_met) December 29, 2020
His walk-off homerun in the third game of the 1986 NLCS remains one of the greatest moments in Mets history.
Dykstra played with the Mets for four full seasons before he was traded to the Phillies in June 1989.
The Philadelphia fans embraced Dykstra who initially wasn’t happy about the trade.
He played with the Phillies until 1996.
Dykstra made another World Series appearance with the Phillies in 1993.
The Phillies lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, but Dykstra played well.
He batted .348 and had four homeruns; two happened in Game 4 which the Phillies lost 15-14.
Dykstra won the Silver Slugger Award in 1993 and was a three-time All Star in 1990, 1994, and 1995.
He finished his career with a batting average of .285, 81 homeruns, and 404 runs batted in.
After a drunk driving accident on May 7, 1991, Dykstra suffered fractured ribs, a fractured collarbone, and a broken cheekbone.
He was involved in the crash with teammate Darren Daulton.
He was sidelined for two months recovering from the injuries.
According to his team physician Phillip Marone, both of them were lucky to believe alive after the incident.
“If they don’t go to church, they better start, because they are very lucky to be alive,” Marone said of Dykstra and Daulton.
Dykstra was hit with a pitch on opening day 1992 that broke his hand.
In those two seasons, he played in less than half of the games.
Dykstra was one of the players listed in the infamous 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid use in MLB.
Allegedly, Dykstra admitted to steroid use to author Randall Lane who wrote the 2010 book, The Zeroes.
In 2015, Dykstra told Colin Cowherd that he hired investigators in 1993 to find out incriminating information on MLB umpires and threaten to blackmail them.
He claims that the high percentage of walks he had in the 1993 season was because he leveraged the information to gain a more favorable strike zone.
Brushes With The Law
Dykstra has had many brushes with the law.
Name it, and he has probably dabbled in it including bankruptcy, theft, drugs, fraud, indecent exposure, terroristic threats, and money laundering.
His actions eventually caught up with him.
Dykstra spent 6 1/2 months in prison in 2012.
Dykstra also talked about how he should have never went to prison in the video below.
Dykstra is divorced from his wife Teri since April 2009.
The couple lived together after their divorce when Dykstra was released from prison.
There were never plans for a reconciliation.
They have two sons, Cutter and Luke, who also had MLB aspirations.
Both played in the minor leagues.
Cutter is married to actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler; they have two children so Lenny Dykstra is a grandfather also.
Many wonder how much better Lenny Dykstra could have been if he harnessed all his energy and focus on baseball during his playing days.
His good career may have ended up being extraordinary.