Darren Daulton, better known as "Dutch," and Lenny Dykstra, the "Dude," are both in for the biggest battles of their lives.
Dutch just successfully underwent seven hours of brain surgery to remove two brain tumors and the Dude just got released from prison after losing just about everything. He once owned mansions, jets, stock, a magazine empire, hugely successful car washes, and at one time, had a net worth of $58 million, before losing everything and falling to the depths of allegedly living out of his car.
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Both Daulton and Dykstra were part of that 1993 Phillies' magical ride to the World Series and of course, the painful three-run dinger by Toronto's Blue Jays' Joe Carter in the bottom of the ninth that rocked the entire city into stunned silence.
Dutch and Dude led the team and were part of "Macho Row," representing what Philly was all about: Dude, the tobacco-chewing, run-through-the-wall, in your face and left it all on the field type of guy. And Dutch, the undefinable leader of the clubhouse, a catcher who earned his stripes in the organization, with his chiseled features, walked and talked with that confident swagger. He was the glue of the team.
I got to know both Lenny and Darren starting back in 1993 and still remain in contact to this day. Both are greatly different in their personality make-up. Darren is a charismatic man who can light up a room with a smile as he gives you a big hug. Lenny a very complicated man of details, thirsting for knowledge, looking for that edge to win at anything.
Baseball guru Billy Beane once said of Lenny that he was "perfectly designed emotionally" to play baseball and that he had "no concept of failure." Unfortunately for Lenny, that same concept does not apply in the business world. Lenny hopefully has learned a cruel lesson.
I spoke with Lenny very recently and I do believe you will see Lenny back in baseball. Dude needs to stick to baseball, away from the demons. And the next chapter in Lenny's life will be "The Comeback." If not, it's strike three, you're out.
Darren has a battle of a different kind. A 100-mph fastball—you can see it coming—and thrown close enough to one's body, it could buckle your knees. Darren didn't see this one coming. It was a vicious curveball of life. Being diagnosed with brain tumors and hearing it for the first time, well, I can't imagine what runs through ones mind. But I do know this: Darren is one tough man who has been through his share of life's curveballs.
The first inning and most critical one was the surgery for Darren and it was successful. The road ahead will be tough, but with best of care, the support and love of his teammates, (family, friends and fans) Dutch will once again walk into a room with that big old smile and swagger and you know everything is going to be alright.