Jun 302010

June 30 Philadelphia Daily News

“LENNY DYKSTRA ended one season with the Phillies as skinny as an orphan begging for spare change on a street corner. He came to Clearwater, Fla., the following spring looking like a miniature “Incredible Hulk,” attributing his new muscles to a weight-lifting regimen and “real good vitamins.”

From that moment on, the rumors of steroid use dogged the Dude. He always denied it, sometimes with a snarl, sometimes with a twinkle in his eye.

Now, Randall Lane, the former Washington bureau chief of Forbes magazine, has written a book called “The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane” in which Dykstra allegedly confessed.

One of those misadventures, it seems, was becoming financially involved with Dykstra. And that involvement, Lane writes, led to an admission by Dykstra that, yes, he used steroids. Book excerpts appear on the Daily Beast Web site.

Wrote Lane, quoting Dykstra: “You gotta understand, there were only 28 people who had my job in the whole world.” He was referring to the fact that there were only 28 Major League Baseball teams (there are now 32), and that each only had one starting centerfielder. “And thousands of people wanted those jobs, and every year, there were guys trying to take my job.

“So I needed to do anything I could to protect my job, take care of my family. Do you have any idea how much money was at stake? Do you?”

There are actually now 30 teams in the major leagues.

Lane said the admission came during a late-night conversation in February 2008 when he was in Dykstra’s New York hotel room to convince him to pay $250,000 he owed in connection with the publication of a glossy magazine he was publishing at the time.

As it happened, Roger Clemens has testified before Congress that day after being fingered in the Mitchell Report as a user of performance-enhancing substances. Dykstra’s name had also been included by Mitchell’s investigators. As the reports aired on a continuous cable loop, Dykstra blurted out his confession.

“You know,” Lenny said, finally breaking the ice, “I was like a pioneer for that stuff.”

“Excuse me, Lenny?”

“The juice. I was like the very first to do that. Me and [Jose] Canseco.”

He straightened up, as he prepared, somewhat proudly, to reveal his role in this dangerous, unseemly history.

Lee Thomas was general manager of the Phillies at the time. He has said that he confronted Dykstra at the time and that the player adamantly denied he was doing anything wrong. Thomas noted that, under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement then in effect, he was powerless to do anything but tell the player not to do anything illegal.

Dykstra, who could not be reached for comment, seems to have convinced himself he hadn’t really done anything wrong.”