Pulse: Chatter: Pharmacology: The Dude Strikes Back

In his new book Clearing the Bases, former Phillie Mike Schmidt writes about the first time he saw the effects of steroids: It was the spring of 1993, when a Phils player who “had always been a little ‘out there’” gained 30 pounds in the off-season and transformed himself from “a decent slap hitter to a five-tool player virtually overnight.” We asked Schmidt, who doesn’t name the player, if there could be any doubt he means Lenny Dykstra, the gritty outfielder who posted career numbers that season. After a chuckle, Schmidt’s only response was, “No comment.”

For Dykstra, allegations of steroid use are nothing new. He’s been fending off suspicions of juicing for years, and recently won a lawsuit filed by a former business partner who alleged, among other charges, that Dykstra used drugs to bulk up as a Phillie. While such claims are easy to dismiss when they come from a disgruntled former friend and big bucks are at stake, are they more troubling when hinted at by a Hall of Famer? Not to the Dude. “Who cares?” Dykstra says when asked about Schmidt’s book, adding that he has a “great relationship” with the author. “That’s 12 years ago. You’re 10 stories behind, bro.”

Though Dykstra insists Schmidt wasn’t pointing a veiled finger at him, he does identify with one aspect of the excerpt — sort of. “Six tools, man! Not five, dude!” he interrupts when he hears the passage from Clearing the Bases for the first time. “I was the most hated player in the National League for five years.” When asked directly, Dykstra addresses the steroid question the way he stole bases — headfirst and unafraid to get dirty. “Fuck no, I never touched fucking steroids,” he says. “I worked my ass off, played every fucking game. People don’t appreciate hard work anymore.”