October 11, 2011
Before he was an alleged criminal, stealing people's money*, buying stolen cars*, and showing off his genitalia to housecleaners*, Lenny Dykstra was a hero. And it was on October 10th, 1993, that he sealed his fate as a Philadelphia immortal. The Phillies and Braves were tied at two games apiece, and the winner of Game 5 would be one win away from the World Series. It was a premier pitching matchup, as Curt Schilling faced off against Steve Avery, a 23-year old lefty phenom coming off an 18-6 year with a 2.94 ERA.
Schilling was masterful, and after 8 innings he had a shutout, giving up only 4 hits and allowing no runs. The Phillies went into the bottom of the 9th with a 3-0 lead. Then it all began to unravel. A leadoff walk by Jeff Blauser was followed by an error by Kim Batiste (the Phils defensive replacement at 3rd also had a crucial error in Game 1), and there were runners on first and second. Schilling was pulled and in came Wild Thing. Singles by McGriff, Terry Pendleton, and Francisco Cabrera tied the game at 3, and Mitch Williams almost earned his goat tag two weeks earlier than destiny would have it. But in the top of the 10th, Lenny Dykstra came up with one out and nobody on. The count went to 3-2, and Dykstra knew exactly what pitch was coming from reliever Mark Wohlers. The fastball came down the middle, and Dykstra took it for a ride over the right field wall.
Dykstra is the guy who always wants to do something and is never afraid to step up and shoulder the pressure.
"I'm a situation player," Dykstra said. "I like those big situations. There are players who like to be on the spot and have to make the play, and there are players who fear those situations. I'll just tell you, there is no fear here.
"I want to be like Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were for that Mets team I played on back in '86. I want to be the leader. I want to be the guy that everybody looks to in the tough situations. I want to be the one who gets it done when it has to be done. As far as I'm concerned, it's never too late."
"I thought we wanted to get something done against them right there in that inning," Dykstra said. "We didn't want to mess with them too long."
The series would come back to Philly, where the Phils would knock off the Greg Maddux and the Braves in Game 6, with Dykstra scoring twice.