Mention the name of Lenny Dykstra to any Mets or Phillies fan and more than likely the response will be positive. Lenny of course, being the spark plug that drove both of those teams to the postseason during his career. Mention Dykstra’s name anywhere else in the world and you will get a markedly different response. Todays book tells us the inside details of why you get such a negative response to Dykstra.
Nailed!-The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra
By:Chris Frankie – 2013 Running Press
On the field Dykstra who was affectionately called “Nails” was a hero to many. His ambitious style of play, and his small stature made him look like an overachiever that every little leaguer could aspire to be like. He found success with both teams he played for in the Major Leagues and the media ate up his goofy personality. In reality what you saw with Dykstra was not necessarily what you got.
After his playing days were over Dykstra started a successful chain of car washes in his native California and tasted success for the first time off of the field. His eventual car-wash empire made him lots of money ($55 Million to be exact) and afforded him the opportunity to dabble in the stock market. After having some success in the market, Dykstra made some new connections in the financial world and that’s when things really started to fall apart. I don’t want to go into too much detail about the rise of Lenny in the stock market world because it will defeat the purpose of you reading the book yourself. Lets just say Dykstra took full advantage of his status as a former ballplayer in New York to make the connections he needed to succeed in the financial field.
Lenny Dykstra for several years left in his wake, broken relationships, bad checks, debts, phony business plans and multiple borderline scams. One would almost wonder was he running a Ponzi scheme in his own mind. Almost anyone willing to invest in Lenny’s businesses, whether it was employees, vendors or investors, got screwed. The underlying theme throughout this book was it didn’t matter who he screwed. Lenny would find someone else to do what he needed and in the end screw them out of some money too. If you bought into his ideas he felt you were loyal but in the end screwed over everyone who worked for him and berated them all at one time or another. Lenny’s final fall from grace came in the form of a prison sentence as we all know. The one time con-man had finally run out of luck.
Chris Frankie is a former Dykstra employee who worked on Lenny’s magazine, The Player’s Club. He like everyone else got screwed out of a ton of money by Dykstra in the form of back pay. He stuck it out longer than some of the other employees and got screwed out of more money than I would ever be willing to risk , but we all have to make are own choices. When I read Frankie was a former employee, I thought he probably had some sort of axe to grind with Lenny. But in the end he still shows some sort of adulation or loyalty to this guy so I don’t think this was any sort of retribution.
This is a really well written book that shows a former stars calculated rise to the top and fall from grace. Anyone who had any shred of admiration for Dykstra should read it to get the real story. Being a Phillies fan I still had some shred of admiration for Dykstra but after reading this book it is all but gone now.
Outside of the book pages and in the real world I feel compelled to share this story. After his recent release from prison Lenny made an appearance at a local diner outside of Philly on the sports talk radio show. I asked my parents if they would go get me an autograph and since it was at a diner I figured they would be glad to do it, and I was not disappointed. After they went I asked my Mom how was their trip to the diner and my mother who usually has something nice to say about every one said this and I quote this exactly……”He looked like an old miserable toad”. Not sure exactly what that meant but my take on it was Lenny had seen better days. So to me after reading this book, and of course getting my Mom’s opinion, Lenny’s fall from grace is complete. I guess on the bright side for him he has nowhere to go but up.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the Running Press