1993 was a year packed with adversity. I was a plucky fourth grader, learning the harsh reality that some teachers truly are witches, the Oakland Athletics finished the season with the worst record in the American League (68-94) and the film Jurassic Park made me believe that velocitraptors were lurking behind every closed door in my house. Needless to say, it was one of my worst years in existence. On the other side of the country things were rockin’ in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Phillies had struck the final blow of my wasted year by fending off my Montreal Expos for the National League Eastern Division title before dropping a 104-win Atlanta Braves squad in the NLCS; paving the way for their first World Series appearance since they lost to the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, the year I was born.
Nails got dealt to the Phillies a little over a third of the way into the 1989 season and played the rest of his career in Philadelphia which came to an end in May of 1996 as a result of injuries. Nails may not have been the greatest player in baseball history, but as Athletics GM Billy Beane said about Dykstra in the book Moneyball, he was, “perfectly designed, emotionally” and had “no concept of failure.” In 1993, this mentality came to light. Dykstra hit .305 for the season and led the League in walks (129), runs (143), at-bats (637), plate appearances (773) and hits (194). He also tagged career highs in home runs (19), stolen bases (37) and RBI (66); not too shabby for a leadoff hitter. Dude, as he was also known, finished in second place for the NL MVP which went to Barry Bonds, his first with the Giants. This is one of the few times where I can honestly say that Dykstra got screwed.