Lenny Dykstra says his prodigious walk totals didn’t come from a great eye, but hiring great private eyes.
The former Met told Fox’s Colin Cowherd that – in his effort to get a huge contract – he spent $500,000 to hire private investigators to turn up dirt on Major League Baseball umpires, and then used that intel to coerce them into giving him a favorable strike zone.
“I said I need the umpires, [so] what do I do? I just pulled out half a million bucks and hired a private investigate team to follow them,’’ said Dykstra, who won the 1986 World Series with the Mets
“Their blood is just a red as ours. Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble, some of them do whatever.’’
The former outfielder – drafted by the Mets in 1981, and with the Amazin’s through 1989 – said he made the outlandish decision when he was trying to score a big contract while with the Phillies. After injury-plagued seasons in 1991 and ’92, he led the National League in runs, walks and at-bats the next season, finishing second to Barry Bonds in the NL MVP race.
Cowherd asked Dykstra whether he ever threatened umpires, and the player responded that it wasn’t needed.
“Fear does a lot to a man. (I’d ask) did you cover last night? They’d call a strike. Oh, I don’t think you heard me. Did you cover the spread last night?” said Dykstra, pantomiming a strike zone suddenly shrinking to a minuscule size.
“I had to do what I had to do to win and to support my family.’’