Former World Series Champion Admits to Blackmailing Umpires

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Federal Crimes

baseball, umpire, blackmail, Chicago criminal defense attorneyLast night, the 2015 World Series got underway as the Kansas City Royals needed 14 innings to fend off the visiting New York Mets. By the time the game got started, however, the sports world and the Internet as a whole was abuzz with chatter about revelations made by a member of the last Mets team to win the Fall Classic. Former Major League Baseball All-Star Lenny Dykstra admitted in an interview this week that he spent more than half a million dollars on a scheme to blackmail umpires into giving him favorable calls during his playing days.

Shocking Information

The startling, yet completely unabashed, admission came during Dykstra’s appearance on The Herd, a weekday Fox radio/TV simulcast hosted by Colin Cowherd. The exchange was prompted by a comment from Cowherd suggesting that Dykstra “kept a book” on umpires, which in the context of the game can mean many things. Completely above board, a pitcher or batter would want to understand the way in which an umpire tends to call a game, and file that information away to be used appropriately. For Dykstra, however, “it was a little more than that.”

He went on to explain that he needed the umpires on his side, so he spent $500,000 on private investigators to dig up information he could use to apply pressure. “Their blood’s just as red as ours,” he said, without an apparent trace of regret. “Some of them like women, some of them like men, some of them gamble, some of them do whatever.” Dykstra gave an example in which he implied to an umpire that he knew of the official’s gambling habits, and, when he increased the pressure, suddenly, calls started to go the player’s way. “It wasn’t a coincidence, you think, that I led the league in walks the next few years, was it?”

Off-the-Field Troubles

Since his retirement in 1996, Dykstra, who spent 12 years in the league between stints with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, has had issues with law. He was named in MLB’s controversial Mitchell Report and other filings as a player who had used steroids to gain an illegal advantage. In 2012, he served 6 months in prison in connection with bankruptcy fraud, concurrent with a no contest pleading to a charge of grand theft auto. It remains to be seen what impact this week’s admission of blackmail will have, but the league has promised an investigation.

If you are facing charges related to blackmail or extortion, it is important to speak with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney at 312-629-0669 to schedule a free consultation today. We will help you understand your available options and work toward finding a favorable resolution that protects your rights and your future.


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