House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge

House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge

by Lenny Dykstra


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House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge by Lenny Dykstra


"Tough, straight, upsetting, and strangely beautiful. ONE OF THE BEST SPORTS AUTOBIOGRAPHIES I’VE EVER READ. It comes from the heart." — Stephen King

“THIS BOOK IS GOING TO BLOW YOUR MIND! Obviously everyone has to buy it.”   — Howard Stern

Eclipsing the traditional sports memoir, House of Nails, by former world champion, multimillionaire entrepreneur, and imprisoned felon Lenny Dykstra, spins a tragicomic tale of Shakespearean proportions — a relentlessly entertaining American epic that careens between the heights and the abyss.

Nicknamed "Nails" for his hustle and grit, Lenny approached the game of baseball — and life — with mythic intensity. During his decade in the majors as a center fielder for the legendary 1980s Mets and the 1990s Phillies, he was named to three All-Star teams and played in two of the most memorable World Series of the modern era. An overachiever known for his clutch hits, high on-base percentage, and aggressive defense, Lenny was later identified by his former minor-league roommate Billy Beane as the prototypical "Moneyball" player in Michael Lewis's bestseller. Tobacco-stained, steroid-powered, and booze-and-drug-fueled, Nails also defined a notorious era of excess in baseball.

Then came a second act no novelist could plausibly conjure: After retiring, Dykstra became a celebrated business mogul and investment guru. Touted as "one of the great ones" by CNBC's Jim Cramer, he became "baseball's most improbable post-career success story" (The New Yorker), purchasing a $17.5-million mansion and traveling the world by private jet. But when the economy imploded in 2008, Lenny lost everything. Then the feds moved in: convicted of bankruptcy fraud (unjustly, he contends), Lenny served two and a half harrowing years in prison, where he was the victim of a savage beating by prison guards that knocked out his front teeth.

The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, channeling the bewildered fascination of many observers, declared that Lenny's outrageous rise and spectactular fall was "the greatest story that I have ever seen in my lifetime."

Now, for the first time, Lenny tells all about his tumultuous career, from battling through crippling pain to steroid use and drug addiction, to a life of indulgence and excess, then, an epic plunge and the long road back to redemption. Was Lenny's hard-charging, risk-it-all nature responsible for his success in baseball and business and his precipitous fall from grace? What lessons, if any, has he learned now that he has had time to think and reflect?

Hilarious, unflinchingly honest, and irresistibly readable, House of Nails makes no apologies and leaves nothing left unsaid.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062407375
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/30/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 206,724
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Lenny Dykstra manned center field for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies from 1985 to 1996. He was a three-time All-Star, and won a World Series with the Mets in 1986. Since his playing days ended, he has been active in a number of business ventures, including publishing a magazine geared toward professional athletes.

Table of Contents

Prologue 1

1 Freedom 5

2 In the Shadow of Angels 13

3 Climbing the Ladder 27

4 Breaking into the Bigs 45

5 Chasing the Pennant, 1986 NLCS: New York Mets vs. Houston Astros 53

6 1986 World Series: New York Mets vs. Boston Red Sox 67

7 Rednecks & Rifles 81

8 1988 NLCS: New York Mets vs. Los Angeles Dodgers 85

9 Play Me or Trade Me 93

10 A Shot in the Butt 97

11 The Politics of Steroids 105

12 The Big Blind 115

13 Brass Balls 123

14 Charlie Sheen 131

15 1993 NLCS: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves 149

16 1993 World Series: Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays 157

17 Ambassador Lenny 167

18 Car Wash King 179

19 Robes & Room Service 185

20 1994 MLB Strike: No More Kool-Aid for Me 195

21 Promised Land 201

22 Wheels Up 217

23 Richards & Rehab 227

24 Stock Market Guru 237

25 Players Club 249

26 Baseball Gods 255

27 Beginning of the End 263

28 I Fought the Law and the Law Won 271

29 Detained 281

30 In Custody 287

31 In the Hole 295

32 Legacy 303

33 To Be or Not to Be Lenny 307

Afterword: Whale Hunting with Lenny Dykstra 315

Acknowledgments 323

Index 331

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House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
I'm a 70 year old female who loved the Mets in the 80's. Lenny was one of my favs. Learned a lot in this book. An eyeopener.
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
In a very interesting autobiography, subtitled both “The Construction, The Demolition, The Resurrection” and “A Memoir of Life on the Edge,” this wonderful professional baseball player lays it all out on the line: His almost obsessive determination to play professional ball from his youngest days, through his accomplishing that and much more, setting all kinds of offensive records in the greatest game in sports (OK, I am not the most objective person in that regard), through his losing almost everything when incarcerated, and then recovering his life when released and finding great success in the business world. In what the author describes as “the greatest World Series in baseball history,” in “the best sports city in the world, New York,” at age 23, he played in an historic manner, helping the New York Mets win it all. (On a personal note, that end to the 1986 baseball season is what made this reviewer become a full-season Mets ticketholder, and I have attended nearly every ensuing game for the past 30 years.) I clearly remember Lenny Dykstra as an incredible player, giving it everything he had, and throwing himself up against the center field wall when a ball came his way, with no thought to the cost to his body. He is gracious in recounting the end of that game and noting that Bill Buckner’s error which cost his team the game, and the Series, was only one of the factors leading to that outcome. Lenny Dykstra’s career highlights included a walkoff homerun in the NLCS in 1986, and a World Series homerun in both 1986 and 1993. The author had great talent as a ballplayer, and, in what I’m guessing is almost a necessity when achieving what he did, also seems to this reader to have an enormous ego. He says what is undeniably true: “. . . ask anyone to dispute the fact that not too many players have played at the level that I rose to, or accomplished the things I did in the postseason over my career.” But as this book nears its end, he admits “I know I have many flaws and have made many mistakes over the years. I know, too, that I will make more mistakes as I continue to work on regaining a life built with happiness and contentment; a life that I can be proud of.” Dykstra was not happy during the years he played for the Mets, chafing over being platooned at center field with the great Mookie Wilson [one of my favorite all-time Mets players]. Not long after, he left to join the Philadelphia Phillies. Of that time, he says “other than a little drinking here and there, I didn’t even know what drugs looked like then. Steroids were not on the radar yet. I know it’s hard to believe, but I would then make up for my innocence when I played for the Phillies.” He describes himself in 1993 at age 30 as being “put together like a Greek statue.” Dykstra has strong opinions about most of those alongside whom he worked and played ball, e.g., he calls Davey Johnson, the Mets manager in the ‘80’s, an “overrated and underachieving manager,” although he credits many of his colleagues with being great ballplayers. He does not make excuses for his own forays into heavy drinking and use of steroids, cocaine and amphetamines, and credits that use with his becoming an All-Star in 1990. He at one point owned his own private jet, which he used to fly, among other places, to Paris, where he purchased a bottle of a 1936 wine for $3,000, and Germany, where he paid $75,000 cash for a “genuine German shepherd.” He proudly writes of his “good friends
B-loNY More than 1 year ago
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