Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Sevenseries returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with the number seven and work all the way to number one. This week's Seven in Seven list takes a look at some of the strangest characters in Mets franchise history, as we take a look at the third most offbeat personality in team history, outfielder Lenny Dykstra.
Lenny Dykstra was the leadoff hitter and catalyst of the 1986 World Series champion New York Mets. While only a rookie that year, his walk-off home run in game 3 of the NLCS is one of the biggest hits in Met history and the defining moment of what was an interesting career.
Dykstra played four seasons in Flushing before the Mets traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies in June of 1989. He was a productive baseball player during his career with the Mets and Phillies, but it was off-the-field activities that landed Dykstra in the third spot on our list.
Dykstra gained a reputation for partying and making notoriously bad business investments. In 1991, Dykstra crashed his Mercedes after attending John Kruk’s bachelor party. He suffered several broken bones and burn injuries in the accident. His BAC after the crash registered a .0179, more than twice the legal limit.
Dykstra’s legal troubles continued in 1999 when he was accused of sexually harassing a 17-year old employee at a car wash he owned. The charges were later dropped. He faced additional sexually related accusations when he was accused of hiring a female escort (porn star Monica Foster), then writing the escort a bad $1,000 check in December 2010 and sexually assaulting his housekeeper in January 2011.
In April 2011 Dykstra was arrested and charged with bankruptcy fraud and suspicion of grand theft auto. He was held on $500,000 bail. On June 6, 2011, Dykstra was arrested and charged with 25 misdemeanor and felony counts of grand theft auto, identity theft, filing false financial statements, and possession of cocaine, ecstasy, and HGH. Dykstra pleaded no contest to the grand theft auto and providing false financial statement charges in exchange for the drug charges being dropped. While out on bail and awaiting sentence on the chargers, Dykstra was arrested for indecent exposure.
On March 5, 2012, Dykstra was sentenced to three years in prison following a no contest plea to charges of grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement. Dykstra is currently in a California prison.
In addition to his legal troubles, Dykstra has been connected to the use of performance enhancing drugs by numerous sources. He was named in the Mitchell Report in 2007 and in Jason Gimsley’s unsealed affidavit as an alleged user of steroids.
Dykstra has also faced severe financial difficulties since leaving baseball. He has had several properties foreclosed upon and has had several failed business enterprises. In July 2009, Dykstra, whose net worth was estimated at $58 million in 2008, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing less than $50,000 in assets against $10 million to $50 million in liabilities. He has been involved in at least two dozen legal actions since 2007. By 2009, Dykstra was $36 million in debt and was living out of his car and in hotel lobbies. That same year, he sold off his 1986 World Series for $56,762. This past December, Dykstra was sentenced to 6 1/2 months in federal custody following a plea deal to bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges.
Lenny Dykstra has become the poster boy on how not to handle your money once you make it rich as a professional athlete. Whether it be drugs, awful investments or a combination of other factors, Dykstra has managed to piss away tens of millions of dollars of personal fortune. His frequent run-ins with the law and his financial difficulties have earned him the third spot on our list of offbeat personalities in New York Mets history.
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