Monday, January 12, 2015

The night Lenny Dykstra was swinging in the rain

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Lenny Dykstra's every move has been easy to track during these past few years. The questions about steroids or the details of his financial rise and fall have also been voluminous. His association with Charlie Sheen and indictment for bankruptcy fraud are just the latest in a series of media flashes.

If we reflect on our scrubbed memories, we will see a smiling, gritty guy who would do anything to win. Dykstra channeled his personality traits through a baseball diamond, while the fans couldn't help but love the luster.

1993 World Series, Game 4

The Philadelphia Phillies were trailing the Toronto Blue Jays two games to one, when Game 4 got underway on a rainy night at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

Tommy Greene, who went 16-4 in the regular season, yielded three runs in top of the first. Dykstra initiated the Phillies' counter attack when he worked a walk off Todd Stottlemyre to lead off the bottom half of the inning. He stole second base and later scored on the Blue Jays starter's fourth walk of the inning. The Phillies exited that first frame with a 4-3 lead.
After Greene singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the second inning, Dykstra stepped to the plate. 'The Dude' tattooed Stottlemyre when he hit a two-run home run to deep right field.
The Phillies' 6-3 margin wouldn't last long, as the Blue Jays regained the lead with four runs in the top of the third inning causing Greene's departure.

Up and Down

Al Leiter took over for Stottlemyre in the third inning and was still pitching in the fourth, when Dykstra hit a line-drive double to center field. Mariano Duncan followed with a single that tied the score at 7-7.

In the bottom of the fifth, Leiter yielded a two-run home run to Darren Daulton. Milt Thompson then doubled home a run and was standing on second base, when Dykstra hit another two-run home run to right field that gave the Phillies a 12-7 lead.
The Phillies' bullpen later surrendered a six spot in the top of the eighth. That offensive barrage proved to be too much to overcome, as the Blue Jays won the game 15-14 to take a 3 games to 1 series lead.
Dykstra's three-hit, four-run, four-RBI performance was just one part of what proved to be the best season of his career.

Nailing it

Everyone has the right to question the types of decisions that 'Nails' made during his playing days, or how he has handled his subsequently loud retirement. But, everyone who values a red light player will always remember the night 'The Dude' was swinging in the rain.

(I hold all copyrights to this article which originally appeared on Yahoo's Voices platform in 2011.)


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