Friday, October 9, 2015

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #177 LENNY DYKSTRA

THE GUTS OF TWO PENNANT-WINNERS.



MOST DEFINITELY PHYSICALLY ENHANCED IN THE '90S.




DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Rabble-rouser Lenny Dykstra earned the nickname "Nails.'' He just didn't know when to temper that fire, and it got him into a heap of trouble off the field. Mets fans still warmly remember the scrappy leadoff hitter and his role on the 1986 World Series champions. Phillies fans still get misty over the 'roided-up "Dude'' and his zest for lunacy that led them to the '93 NL pennant. And the victims of Dykstra's financial schemes still would like to see him burn in hell. A player of modest talent, Dykstra forged a respectable 12-year career, slashing .285/.375/.419 with 285 steals. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Down 0-2 after being swept at home, the Mets were in need of a spark in Game 3 of the '86 World Series on Oct. 21. Dykstra, batting lead off, provided it. He stroked a first-inning 1-1 pitch from Oil Can Boyd into the right-field Fenway seats. The Mets went on to win 7-1 to save their season.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Dykstra came of age in '93 for the Phillies. He led the NL in runs (143), hits (194) and walks (129) and slashed .305/.420/.482. He also set career-highs in homers (19), RBI (66) and steals (37).

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. A 13th-round choice in the '81 draft.
  2. Had one of the greatest minor-league seasons for Class A Lynchburg of the Carolina League in '83. He slashed .358/.472/.502, stealing 105 bases and driving in 81. He was named league MVP.
  3. A notorious tobacco-chewer, Dykstra was known to spit out wads in center field, which was not lost on Pirates center fielder #185 Andy Van Slyke. "I hate playing center field against Lenny Dykstra. One of these years, he's going to give me foot cancer out there.''
  4. Dykstra was sentenced to three years in prison in '12 after pleading no-contest to grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement. Released in '13 after serving 6 1/2 months. 
  5. While there are plenty more tawdry incidents involving Nails, perhaps it's better to end with a funny/sad one. Check out this two-part dumpster-fire smackdown with former Phils closer and not-so-close friend #49 Mitch Williams that occurred earlier this year at a roast in Philadelphia. The audience is just as entertaining as the combatants.


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