New York Mets: The steep and astounding fall of Lenny Dykstra

FLUSHING, NY - 1989: Lenny Dykstra (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
FLUSHING, NY - 1989: Lenny Dykstra (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images) /

The sad and profound fall of former New York Mets outfielder Lenny  Dykstra.

Nails. That’s a name that New York Mets fans loved back in the 1980s. That was the nickname for outfielder Lenny Dykstra. He was the leadoff hitter on the teams back then that were fighting for NL East title each and every year, culminating in a World Series title in 1986. Opponents hated him but fans loved him, because he was as tough as “nails”. Hence, the nickname.

Dykstra had his fair share of memorable moments during that run to the 1986 title. On a personal note, I remember where I was when he hit the walk-off home run to win game three of the NLCS over the Houston Astros. When the Mets were down 2-0 in the World Series against the Red Sox, Dykstra hit a leadoff home run in game three at Fenway Park to spark the team to their first win, and hit another the next night.

During that postseason, Dykstra hit .304 against the Astros and .296 against the Red Sox. To say he was a gamer would have been an understatement. His abilities to make plays in big spots helped him fit like a glove with the likes of Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter. Most Mets fans from that era agree that the only crime is that this team didn’t win more World Series titles.

Unfortunately, Dykstra’s time after leaving baseball hasn’t been quite as successful. His time in baseball became marred as he was revealed as a steroid user during his career. He also revealed that he hired a private investigator to dig up information on umpires that he used in return for a more favorable strike zone. He has had legal problems since 2005 when he was sued by an ex-business partner.

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It has all come to a head this week with his latest arrest. For anyone who missed it, Lenny Dykstra was arrested this week for allegedly pulling a gun on an Uber driver because they wouldn’t change Dykstra’s desired destination in the middle of the trip.

When the police arrived at the car, the driver had fled, but Dykstra was still there. There was no weapon but there was cocaine and ecstasy on his person. He was released on a summons.

After being released, he published some very odd tweets from his personal Twitter account. In effect, Dykstra was mocking the fact that he was arrested. As noted in the linked article, a former agent reminded him to be careful about what he tweets during an ongoing case.

This fall from grace for Dykstra has been steep. It’s also been profoundly hard to watch. To see a player that you watched as a child fall into these problems is difficult. These Mets were the ones I watched in my formative baseball years. I became a fan watching these guys. It was hard to watch it happen with Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. It’s difficult to see it happen to Dykstra.

It’s a great shame. Dykstra will always be a guy that is beloved in this city. Fans have a way of forgiving when they are invited back to visit with the team. But to read constantly about someone’s life falling apart is never easy. Lenny Dykstra had it all and it is has all come down in a heap.

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The big question will be how the Mets help him, and if they do at all. Clearly Dykstra needs it. This is clear evidence of a man who has lost his way. Fred Wilpon and his team could show the world a lot by reaching out to their former player to try and help. Don’t hold your breath, Mets fans.