Saturday Morning Phodder: The Life and Times of Lenny Dykstra – Phillies Nation

Saturday Morning Phodder: The Life and Times of Lenny Dykstra

In 1981, the New York Mets drafted a young man from Garden Grove, Ca. in the 13th round of baseballs amateur draft. When one is selected that late, they often toil in the minor leagues for their career. Yet, sometimes a player can surprise the experts and scouts and have a cup of coffee in the show. For Leonard Kyle Dykstra, that cup of coffee became a helluva career. Perhaps it was the toughness and grit that he brought to the ball-yard everyday that allowed him to excel. He certainly had natural ability, but determination was ultimately the key to Dykstra’s success. It was this toughness and determination that earned him the moniker,”Nails.” 

For those of us that were privileged enough to see him don Phillies pinstripes, “Nails” put on quite a show. Who can forget the clutch moments he provided in the 1993 NLCS and World Series? Dykstra was revered by Mets fans after batting .300 in the 1986 postseason. Lenny was the catalyst that helped New York win their first World Series since 1969. In 1993, Dykstra batted near .350 in the fall classic, bringing the Phillies to the brink of tying the series against Toronto with a clutch, late-inning bomb. He finished with six homers in the ’93 playoffs.

Dykstra’s hard-nosed, balls to the wall mentality may have also been his kryptonite. In his eight seasons with the Phillies, he played full seasons only twice, including 1993. Injuries plagued the “Dude” throughout his tenure in Philly. Some injuries were the result of playing hard, some, like the drunk-driving accident that cost him two months of baseball in 1991, were the result of living hard. However, for better or for worse, that was Lenny K. Dykstra. Is it a surprise that he carried his tough as nails mindset into the professional world, upon retiring?

Dykstra struck gold in 1993, but not in the baseball world. This was the year that Lenny opened up his first car-wash. The success of this venture led him to an empire in the realm of car-washes. It just so happened that the dirt-mongrel Dykstra also liked to get things squeaky clean. Through his car-washes, Dykstra began to build a financial empire that extended far beyond cleaning cars. Using his hard-nosed mentality, Dykstra started to invest in stocks, real-estate, cars, and new personal business ventures. His success(a self-proclaimed 98%) in trading stocks, earned him a friendship and great acclaim from stock “guru”, Jim Cramer, of CNBC’s Mad Money.

The beginning of Dykstra’s end came when his magazine, “The Players Club” started to flounder. Many articles have been written, chronicling the many guffaws committed by Dykstra. Eventually all of his missteps in the financial world came to a head when Dykstra filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. During this time Dykstra faced a litany of law-suits, a divorce, and a foreclosure on a home purchased from hockey great, Wayne Gretzky. Despite the bankruptcy filing, Dykstra readily admits that his net worth exceeds 100 million dollars.

In the latest round of Dykstra news, it was learned that Lenny was being sued, again, by a former employee who claims she was sexually harassed by Dykstra. With-in a week of this story’s release, Dykstra announced that he would be filing suit against JP Morgan, whom issued Dykstra his 18 million dollar mortgage on Gretzky’s house, for 100 million dollars for predatory lending.

The man who once had the Midas touch has fallen hard from grace, but grace was one thing the Dude never had. Multiple encounters with Dykstra portray him as rude, brash, sexist, racist, and a whole slew of other -ists. Dykstra was quoted as saying “Nobody can call me a racist, I put three”darkies” and a bitch, on my first four covers.”(referring to his Players Club publication.) For the record, those covers included Derek Jeter, Chris Paul, Tiger Woods, and Danica Patrick. He went on to describe the three gentlemen as “spearchuckers.”

It was this rhetoric that likely got Dykstra’s publication banned from locker rooms across professional sports, thus leading to the downfall of The Players Club. Perhaps it was his abrasive personality that led to his divorce and alienation from his mother and brother. One thing is certain, Dykstra finds himself in a very lonely place in this world.



  1. Phan in Atl

    March 27, 2010 at 11:32 am

    My love and admiration for him when he was a player for Philly aside, this guy was, and always will be a piece of sh*t.

  2. NickFromGermantown

    March 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    If you know anything about j vesting, you’ll know that his “strategy” is a joke. He basically just doubles down when he is losing.

  3. NickFromGermantown

    March 27, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    So yeah, make sure you do not take investing advise from him.

  4. Vernon Dozier

    March 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    How can you write about “the life and times” of Dykstra and not even mention the word “steroids”?

  5. jason bintliff

    March 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    @Vernon…I actually had another paragraph written on that issue, but I kept researching for solid evidence that he used them, and I was suprised that I couldn’t find any. He doesn’t appear on the Mitchell Report that I know of, he has admitted using “Magic Pills”, but sued a friend after his friend admitted to supplying Lenny. Everything else in the column was public knowledge, unfortunately, I had to remove the steroid part because at this point it’s only speculation. Just know that I felt it needed to be included, but couldn’t have been…sorry.

  6. Andrew

    March 27, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Was my favorite player.
    This was the wild wild west time of baseball. I always wonder what he ate and then he really ate the right foods during the playoffs and world series. I respect that.

  7. Vernon Dozier

    March 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    He DOES appear in the Mitchell Report…I think you should read pages 149 and 150.


  8. Vernon Dozier

    March 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Lenny Dykstra

    Lenny Dykstra played as an outfielder in Major League Baseball with two clubs, the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, from 1985 to 1996. As a player with the Phillies, Dykstra played in three All-Star games and finished second in Most Valuable Player balloting in 1993.

    Radomski first met Dykstra when he was playing for the Mets and became “very close with Lenny.” According to Radomski, when Dykstra reported to spring training in 1989, “his increased size was noticeable.” When Radomski asked him about his increased size, Dykstra admitted to taking steroids. Radomski also recalled that Dykstra’s weight fluctuated during that spring training. He stated that members of the Mets’ management discussed Dykstra’s weight fluctuations with the team’s athletic trainers and that “the trainers would just laugh.”373

    After the Phillies lost the 1993 World Series, Dykstra called Radomski and asked whether Radomski could get Dykstra steroids. Although Radomski does not remember the exact time frame, he recalled providing Dykstra with Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, and testosterone.

    Since approximately 2000, the Commissioner’s Office has been aware that Dykstra used anabolic steroids during his playing career. At that time, senior vice president for security Kevin M. Hallinan, his deputy Martin Maguire, and then-executive vice president for baseball operations Sandy Alderson met with Dykstra and his doctor in an attempt to increase their understanding of steroids. Hallinan said that Dykstra admitted to using steroids, saying that he used them to “keep his weight up” during the season. According to Hallinan, Dykstra said using steroids eliminated the need for him to work out during the season.

    In order to provide Dykstra with information about these allegations and to give him an opportunity to respond, I asked him to meet with me; he never agreed to an interview.

    373 As discussed earlier in this report, there were many news reports speculating about Dykstra’s possible use of steroids during his playing career. See supra at 66-67.

  9. WFC010

    March 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    I met Lenny Dykstra during a fan appreciation picture night, and he refused to take pictures with us or anyone else, and generally came across as a giant douchebag. He was one of my favorite players as a kid too, so you can imagine how that must have devastated me back then. Anyway none of his various problems since Baseball really surprise me, he’s pretty much the scum of the earth.

  10. jason bintliff

    March 27, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Vernon… Thanks again… I admit I have not seen nor read the mitchell report except for those that were high-profile. I knew about Lenny’s suit against Radomski… Yes, Lenny’s career revolved around steroids, but playing in that era, unfortunately, it should be the rule, more than the exception. Look at the entire ’93 squad, except for Eisenreich and Stocker, everyone on Macho Row falls under my supspicion.

  11. WFC010

    March 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Honestly, I think there were some other ’93 players that i’d consider fairly above suspicion: John Kruk was always a good and consistant player, and he never struck me as a roider. Then you have Mitch Williams who I would have an extremely difficult time picking as a user. The only people that i’m really suspicious about are Dykstra(obviously), Dave Hollins, and possibly Darren Daulton as well.

  12. Vernon Dozier

    March 28, 2010 at 5:00 am

    Don’t forget Pete Incaviglia, Mariano Duncan, and Danny Jackson in that group. Those of you old enough to remember 1993 will surely remember comments by members of the Braves after the Phillies beat them in the playoffs. They strongly hinted at forces other than natural baseball skills working against them.

  13. WFC010

    March 28, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Vernon Dozier: Pete Incaviglia, Mariano Duncan, and Danny Jackson were or were not users? I wasn’t sure which group you were putting them into, but I wouldn’t be terribly surprised either way with those 3.

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