Lenny Dykstra, a three-time Major League Baseball All-Star who played for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, claimed on Tuesday that he blackmailed umpires to get favorable calls during his at-bats.
The 1993 runner-up for National League MVP told Colin Cowherd on "The Herd" that he paid $500,000 to hire a "private investigation team" to gather personal information on umpires that he could then use against them.
"Their blood's just as red as ours," he said. "Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble, some of them do whatever."
Dykstra claimed he hired the PIs when he was "trying to get the money," referring to a contract extension.
"Fear does a lot to a man," Dykstra said.
He explained how he might talk to an ump during an at-bat, asking if he "covered the spread last night," a reference to gambling. Mimicking the strike zone with his hands, he showed it shrinking as the umpire realized what Dykstra was saying.
"It wasn't a coincidence that I led the league in walks the next few years," he said.
In reality, Dykstra led the league in walks just once, in 1993, when he set a career high, according to Baseball Reference. However, after that season he signed a four-year contract extension with the Phillies worth $24.9 million.
At the time, that made him the highest-paid player in Phillies history.
"I had to do what I had to do to win and support my family," Dykstra told Cowherd.
A spokesman for MLB told the New York Daily News that they would look into Dykstra's claim.
Nicknamed "Nails," Dykstra was part of the 1986 Mets team that won the World Series, and part of the 1993 Phillies team that lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the Fall Classic.
Since his 12-year playing career ended in 1996, however, Dykstra has been repeatedly in trouble and has served time in prison for bankruptcy fraud and other charges.
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