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Lenny Dykstra, Financial Genius

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Like most of you, I am absolutely shocked that Lenny Dykstra would prove to be a complete fraud.

Not fresh news here I know, but it actually is amazing that so many athletes would turn to Dykstra for investment advice. I mean, what could possibly have gone wrong.

Of course, this fluff piece by Ben McGrath in The New Yorker from 2008 probably didn’t help. I find this one of the most embarrassing pieces I’ve ever read in the magazine.

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  • Well….that explains why he missed the silver anniversary celebration of the greatest team ever to play on a baseball field…

  • efgoldman

    He was always a fraud. PEDs, anyone?
    At least Pete Rose really got all those hits, even if he threw his life away afterwards.

  • R. Porrofatto

    Is it just a coincidence that the name Jim Cramer pops up in so many of these fish-rot financial stories? I think not.

    • Halloween Jack

      I think that you can lay pretty much all the blame for Dykstra’s wholly-undeserved reputation as a financial genius on Cramer, who touted him as such without realizing that Dykstra 1) got all his stock picks from a newsletter that he subscribed to and 2) lied about his financial acumen simply by not counting his losses.

  • R, Johnston

    I’d say Dykstra’s more of a super genius, in the Wile E. Coyote sense, of course. He set an absurdly elaborate trap for his marks that he didn’t even begin to understand, and he caught himself instead of his targets.

  • Ben

    I don’t see what exactly is so embarrassing about it. When I read the piece, I thought it wasn’t so much a fluff piece as a good example of giving someone just enough rope to hang themself. The Lenny in the piece doesn’t exactly command respect, no matter what his financial position was. And it’s not like he wasn’t living high on the hog at the time of the story’s reporting — those details were fascinating, and they’re exactly what seemingly put him in a federal lockup awaiting trial.

    Should McGrath have seen through to the other side and divined the fact that everything would go bad on Lenny? I think that’s hindsight bias talking. Not that many things written in March of 2008 hold up, and it’s not clear that an otherwise fairly damning human interest piece on an already-famous ex-athlete who had demonstrated business acumen already (though his carwashes) was a reasonable place to take some kind of stand against the bubble economy. Back then, my take on the sports magazine was “just stupid enough to succeed,” and it’s not like its collapse was preordained. As for the market turning bad, well, hey, a lot of folks got wiped out, and a lot of levered folks saw their investments go critical. This seems “obvious” in retrospect, but hey.

    • Ben

      Hang himself. Ack.

    • Davis

      I didn’t know until I read the NYT article that the successful carwash business was owned and operated by his brother, whom he later cheated.

  • wengler

    A couple years back Bernard Goldberg of REAL Sports with Bryant Gumbel had a glowing video profile of Dykstra like he was some sort of genius of the market. It was proof positive that both of them were hacks.

  • Manju

    Well, he’s a NY Met, so what do you expect. What the hell is a Met anyway? And who is Shea? When Citi is a better name than you, how low do you have to be? I hear Bernie rejected an offer to put his name up there, fearing guilt by association.

    While we’re at it, where in the world is Queens? Jersey? How’d they become part of NYC? Do we have to let Staten Island in next? Where’s a velvet rope you need one? Someone call Steve Rubell.

    A Yankee would never cheat. Just look at Mariano Jeter. A-Rod and Clemens and Giambi don’t count. Not real Yankees. Especially Clemens. No one who ever spent time as a Red Sox, particularly a a Red Sox pitcher, can ever be a real Yankee.

    That leaves Petite. But he’s very religious so it doesn’t count. Plus its all Clemens’ (ie the Red Sox’s) fault anyways.

    The problem with Dykstra and the Mets is that they never take responsibility for anything.

    • rea

      No one who ever spent time as a Red Sox, particularly a a Red Sox pitcher, can ever be a real Yankee

      Sorry, Babe.

  • papa zita

    Read the New Yorker piece and while embarrassing, there were writers whose drooling fandom over their profile subjects was equally mortifying. ISTR it had started in earnest in the Tina Brown era and never stopped. That was much of the reason I quit reading the damned thing, if I wanted such drool I could have read a number of other magazines which had less institutional integrity. Integrity that is now mostly spent. So, it was stupid and cringeworthy, but hardly new to the magazine.

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