Former Phillies general manager Lee Thomas acquired Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell and a player to be named later from the New York Mets for Juan Samuel in June 1989. The deal was completed a month later when the Phillies got Tom Edens. Dykstra signed a 3-year, $7.3 million contract with the Phillies in August 1990, and a 4-year, $24.9 million extension in December 1993.
The Daily News' Mark Kram caught up with Thomas, who is retired, for his thoughts on Dykstra:
"No matter what he did, whether he gambled or played baseball, he was a red-light player. When that red light came on, Lenny was ready. I really, really feel so bad for this stuff that is happening to him. He signed a big contract when I was there . . . Somewhere along the line, I don't know what happened.
"I always thought that Lenny could never relax, on and off the field. I think he had this competitive streak in him that no matter what he did, he had to be better than anyone else. He went to Atlantic City a lot. He liked to do that. He liked to win. No matter what it was he did. I don't know how much he got involved with the steroids and all that. I don't know what that does to your mind down the road. I know there were some rumors . . .
"Lenny was a take-a-chance-guy, take-a-risk. I've never seen a wall he wouldn't run into to catch the ball. That's the kind of guy he was. He would have fought you until the last breath . . .
"The thing I've always wondered about with some of these athletes: How much is enough? What do you need? How much more do you need? Isn't the idea of life to be able to get yourself in a situation where you're comfortable, maybe you can help other people do some things? Lenny may have been one of those guys who was never, ever satisfied. He always wanted to reach for more. I was amazed when I heard he was doing those stock picks. Can this be Lenny Dykstra?
"Something had to happen to him in some way for him to go off the deep end the way it has happened to him. If anybody ever had it made, he had it made then for a while . . . When Lenny was going great, he was on top of the world."