Long before Lenny Dykstra was imprisoned for grand theft auto, among other charges, the former hard-charging player for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies apparently already had a criminal mind.
Dykstra, a key member of the 1986 Mets world title team, told Fox Sports Radio host Colin Cowherd on Tuesday that he blackmailed Major League Baseball umpires during his playing days.
“I said ‘I need these umpires,’ so what do I do? I just pulled a half-million bucks out and hired a private investigation team to follow them. Their blood is just as red as ours. Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble. Some of them do whatever,” said Dykstra, who has a book titled “Lennyball” due out next year.
The man known as “Nails” said he put the screws on the umps when he was trying to land a lucrative contract.
“It wasn’t a coincidence do you think that I led the league in walks the next two years, was it?” said Dykstra, a three-time All-Star who led the National League in walks (129) in 1993, when he placed second to Barry Bonds in the MVP race and led the Phillies to the World Series.
Did Dykstra bribe the umps?
“No. Fear does a lot to a man,” he said. “(I’d say) ‘Hey, so did you cover last night?’ He’d call it a strike. ‘Oh, I don’t think you heard me. Did you cover the spread last night?'”
Dykstra then used his hands to show the strike zone shrinking.
“I had to do what I had to do to win and to support my family,” said Dykstra, 52.
Check out the interview above.