A former professional baseball player details how his go-for-broke attitude on the baseball diamond continued after his retirement and eventually ruined him.
Most Major League Baseball fans remember Dykstra (Nails: The Inside Story of an Amazin' Season, 1987), a star for the Mets and Phillies in the 1980s and ’90s, as a hardworking, relentless, often reckless player, cheeks bursting with tobacco and mouth constantly spitting profanity. His recaps of his playoff and World Series games will rekindle memories for baseball enthusiasts and entertain nonfans, but the author makes explosive accusations about and assessments of his teammates and managers. He says the Mets' "overrated and underachieving" manager Davey Johnson made ruinous decisions during their 1988 playoff run because "he and Jack (as in Daniels) had become close personal friends.” Also, starting pitcher Ron Darling was "living proof that you could have a successful career without much stuff." Lazy and clichéd language make this a quick, mostly uninspiring, read, but tales of the author’s outsized lifestyle are mind-boggling. On team road trips, he was living an absolute “life of luxury, like the top 1 percent,” a life that included plenty of alcohol, drugs, and women. He often reserved entire floors of high-end hotels, including the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. After he retired, he continued the “jet-set” lifestyle, purchasing a Gulfstream jet and enjoying extravagant trips to European resorts while telling his wife he was checking into various rehab facilities. As he piles on the excesses and drops dozens of names, he admits, "my ego was as big as my bank account." Ultimately, in 2012, his unsustainable standard of living, combined with disastrous personal investments and shady business deals, led to a sentence of three years in federal prison (he served just under seven months).
Dykstra makes no apologies, offering "the real truth," but readers' opinions of him will be harsh.