Career w/Phillies: .288 AVG / 51 HR / 251 RBI / 169 SB
I was attending a Phillies game, age 4, on June 18, 1989. The Phillies were playing the Mets. The Phillies won in a good game, but that’s not what I remember. What I do remember is the Phanavision, immediately after the game, saying the Phils had traded Juan Samuel to the Mets for Lenny Dykstra. My little heart broke. Samuel was probably my first favorite player. And this guy Dykstra was coming over from New York? Poo. Lucky for us.
More than anything, Lenny Dykstra had pizazz. He was an on-base machine, leading the league in 1990 and coming in third in 1993. He hit a lot of doubles and triples, scored a lot of runs, stole bases and walked. But the three-time All Star never did it with grace. He was down and dirty, tough as … well … nails. No. 4 had his best season in ’93, scoring 143 runs off 194 hits, recording a .482 slugging percentage with his over .400 OBP. He had an insane 307 total bases and finished second in MVP voting to Barry Bonds. Sadly, he’d never quite be himself after that ’93 season (and legendary postseason). Injuries caught up to him, and by age 33, Dykstra was finished playing baseball. We all know his post-baseball life has been weird, but like Lenny, it’s always been dirty and thrilling.
Comment: Dykstra was one of the first players I emulated. Most of us 20-somethings can say the same. While Darren Daulton was brutish and handsome, and while John Kruk was meaty and scary, Dykstra was scrappy and soulful. And he could play. Oh he could play. Though Dykstra is at No. 35, two members of that great 1993 team remain on the list.