Lenny Dykstra was revered by Philadelphia Phillies fans for his exploits on the diamond, acting as a turbo-charged table-setter for clubs from the early 90s, highlighted by his second-place MVP finish in 1993 as the Phils went all the way to the World Series. But few athletes have seen their stock as a human being plummet so far after their playing days have ended.
Dykstra, who I once referred to as "the Tiger King of Philadelphia sports," is now in hot water yet again, this time for falling tens of thousands of dollars behind in rent and facing eviction from his Los Angeles apartment. It is a completely unsurprising development surrounding a man who has previously served prison time for bankruptcy fraud, grand theft auto, and money laundering. You might be tempted to ask, "Where and when does this all stop for him?" but the sad answer is that it probably won't.
We've sadly come to expect this from The Dude, a man who made some $24 million playing baseball but has lost it all (and then some) thanks to addictions and shady business ventures. It's a sad human tale that befalls a higher percentage of former pro athletes than we are comfortable admitting, but Dykstra's situation stands out as unique among the rest. Even when he isn't blatantly breaking the law, he's looking for his teeth in a dumpster with help from his friend Sprinkles the Clown. Seriously.
Lenny Dykstra had a nice MLB career, winning a World Series with the Mets in his first full season in 1986, twice leading the NL in hits during his Phillies tenure, and receiving three All-Star selections. He even set the all-time MLB single season record for plate appearances in 1993, which stood until it was broken by Jimmy Rollins in 2007.
Unfortunately, Dykstra was hampered time after time by injuries, the scariest of which occurred in 1991 when he and Darren Daulton were both lucky to be alive after an alcohol-related car accident. He'd recover from that, but everything eventually caught up to him, and he was a shell of himself after that historic '93 season.
As for this latest piece of news, falling behind on rent happens. Evictions happen everyday across this country. But when you hear Lenny Dykstra attached to this kind of story, you just have to shake your head and push him further down the ladder of respect, if he wasn't already on the bottom rung. With some people, it just never ends.
It probably makes you just a little bit sad every time you hear Dykstra's name in the news at this point, and maybe you'll eventually even take down that Dykstra/Dale Murphy poster you have in your basement. Even if not, Dykstra's downfall is a stark reminder about idolizing our sports heroes. They are all humans, often very flawed ones, so we as fans may need to compartmentalize what they do on the field/court/ice and just hope that they aren't a total mess away from the game.
For Lenny Dykstra, it's just been one thing after another. Hopefully this is the end of it, and he can just live a quiet existence going forward. It won't happen, though.
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