In 1993, former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies center fielder Lenny Dykstra broke the hearts of many Braves fans when he crushed a 3-2 pitch in the top of the 10th inning for a home run to give the Phillies the 4-3 win in Game 5 of the 1993 NCLS, helping to bring a halt to the Braves 104-win season and preventing the Braves from winning their third consecutive World Series. Twenty-one years later, Dykstra hopes his son will help alleviate the pain of that memory for the Braves organization.
Luke Dykstra, shortstop and second-baseman for the Los Angeles Westlake High School, was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the seventh round of the 2014 MLB First-Year Player draft. The 6'1', 195 pound athlete impressed the Braves with his consistent approach at the plate and his discipline during the game, leading on scout to remark that "He plays like his daddy."
Tony DeMacio, the Braves's director of scouting, agrees with the scout's assessment: "He's just like his dad, he plays with his hair on fire."
For some, that comparison may be a negative. While Lenny Dykstra was known for his determination and spirit on the field, assets which helped him win one World Series title and compete for another, he was not without his controversies off the field. In 2007, Dykstra's name was mentioned in the MLB's Mitchell Report - an investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs by major league players. Upon the release of said report, Dykstra would admit to his use of steroids in order to gain a leg-up on the competition. In 2012, Dykstra plead guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and money laundering. He would serve 6 months in prison for his crimes.
Despite his tainted life, however, Dykstra has high hopes for his son:
I'm very excited that he's with the Atlanta Braves. They're a great organization. I know they don't like me very much because I kicked their [butt] all the time. But they're a first-class organization. They win. They are obviously doing a lot of things right there. They keep bringing players up there like the Cardinals. It's almost like the Braves and Cardinals have some kind of factory where they clone these [players].
Luke Dykstra (son of Lenny) is expected to sign at slot ($163,900). He was drafted by the #Braves in the seventh round.
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) June 7, 2014
When speaking about his son on a personal level, Dykstra was not afraid of praising his athletic prowess: "The kid can flat out play. I'm not telling you that because he is my kid. I'm telling you that because it's the truth. He's 6-foot-2, 190, can fly and he'll hit 25 to 30 home runs in the big leagues. I think the Braves stole him at that spot. I think the other teams are going to pay for passing him up."
Luke Dykstra will receive an opportunity to show the Braves what he is made of rather soon as the Braves expect Dykstra to report to their Spring Training Facility in Lake Buena Vista, Florida within the next week.
Image via YouTube