Leonard Kyle "Lenny" Dykstra (pronounced /ˈdaɪkstrə/; born February 10, 1963 in Santa Ana, California), nicknamed "Nails" and "Dude", is a former Major League Baseball center fielder. Dykstra played for the New York Mets during the late 1980s before playing for the Philadelphia Phillies during the early 1990s.
Dykstra was signed by the Mets as a 13th round draft pick in 1981. A star in the minors, in 1983 he led the Carolina League in at-bats, runs, hits, triples, batting average, and stolen bases with 105, which was a league record for 17 years. That season, he batted .358 with 8 HR, 81 RBI, and 105 stolen bases while recording 107 walks against just 35 strikeouts. He was consequently named the Carolina League's MVP. Dykstra soon emerged as one of the Mets' prized prospects, and while playing in AA in 1984, he befriended fellow outfielder and teammate Billy Beane. Beane would later say that Dykstra was "perfectly designed, emotionally" to play baseball and that he had "no concept of failure." According to Beane, his first comments upon seeing Steve Carlton warming up on the mound were, "Shit, I'll stick him."
In 1985, Dykstra was deemed ready for the Major Leagues, and he was promoted to the Mets when the team's starting center fielder, Mookie Wilson, was forced to the disabled list. Dykstra's play and energy were a big boost to a Mets team that surged to a 98-win season and narrowly missed out on the NL East crown. The following season, Dykstra was slated to serve as part of a center field platoon with Wilson, but when Wilson suffered a severe eye injury during spring training, Dykstra began the season as the outright starter and leadoff hitter. Later that season, the Mets would release left fielder George Foster, with Wilson moving over to play left. Mets fans soon nicknamed Dykstra "Nails" for his tough-as-nails personality and fearless play. In 1986, he even removed his shirt to pose for a "beefcake" poster under the "Nails" nickname. Moreover, Dykstra and #2 hitter Wally Backman were termed the "Wild Boys" for their scrappy play and propensity to serve as the spark plugs for a star-studded lineup.