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15 years ago today: Lenny Dykstra plays in final game

May 18, 2011, 4:15 PM EDT

Lenny Dykstra

May 18, 1996

Phillies leadoff man Lenny Dykstra suffered a rib-cage injury while going 0-for-3 in a 7-2 loss to the Dodgers. It turned out to be his final game in the majors. He was placed on the disabled list four days later, never to return.

Dykstra, who was just 33, was batting .261/.387/.418 at the time of the injury, and he still ranked as one of the NL’s best leadoff hitters when healthy. Just three years earlier, he finished second in the NL MVP balloting after scoring 143 runs. That was the highest total for an NL player since Chuck Klein scored 158 runs in 1932 and the second highest total in the majors since 1950 behind Rickey Henderson’s 146 from 1985.

Dykstra was also an All-Star in both 1994 and 1995, despite playing in 84 and 62 games the two years. The 1993 season was the only one of his last five in the bigs that he topped 100 games. A fan favorite for his ultra-aggressive play in center field, “Nails” played for only the Mets and Phillies in his 12-season career. He hit .285/.375/.419 with 81 homers and 285 steals in 1,278 games.

Unfortunately, Dykstra wasn’t only reckless while on the field. In 1991, he crashed his Mercedes into two trees while driving drunk. He missed two months with broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a broken cheekbone. Teammate Darren Daulton was with him at the time and suffered a broken eye socket.

He’s also had plenty of additional interesting run-ins since.

After recovering from back surgery, a 35-year-old Dykstra attempted a comeback with the Phillies in 1996. However, he went just 2-for-21 in spring training before calling it quits due to more troubles with the back.

  1. cur68 - May 18, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Mathew; thank you for using this photo of Lenny and not the one with the chaw hanging from his mouth. I’m unwell at the moment and I think the aforementioned chaw-shot would have seriously set me back.

  2. hep3 - May 18, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    It may not be that long before we see “Nails” in the proverbial bright Orange jump suit.

  3. bigdogpappad - May 18, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    And you overlooked his stealing his son’s signing bonus. How sick!

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