This must be one of those combo player/longtime Mets broadcaster deals because Darling’s Mets career alone doesn’t quite warrant him getting in their HOF.
Darling made a lot of news lately for his new book that contained uncorroborated claims of racism against Lenny Dykstra, but this news is something different and way more important. I love listening to Darling, Keith and Gary Cohen while I watch games and hope to continue doing so for a long time. Hope he gets better soon.
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Score one for Team Dykstra.
Wally Backman became the latest former Met to chime in on the feud between Lenny Dykstra and Ron Darling over whether Dykstra shouted racial slurs at Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd from the on-deck circle during the 1986 World Series, as Darling claims he did.
Dykstra has vehemently denied the allegation while former teammates Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Kevin Mitchell, along with Boyd, have all said they did not hear his comments. Keith Hernandez, meanwhile, said he saw Dykstra “barking” at Boyd, but did not hear the alleged insults.
Backman was adamant the episode never happened.
“The fact of the matter is I [was] standing right besides Lenny on the on-deck circle before that game,” said Backman, the former minor-league Mets manager now in charge of the Long Island Ducks. “If something like that would have happened, if something would have been said, I would have said something to him at that time. But I’ve known Lenny a long time and I know for a fact — on my kids’ life — he did not say that.”
The evidence on both sides has been weighed and I think it’s pretty clear on who the winner is. Darling should apologize and admit he got it wrong.
Not his broadcasting partner Keith Hernandez. Not Darryl Strawberry or Dwight Gooden or Kevin Mitchell. Not Oil Can Boyd. Not Wally Backman (who had to be right behind Dykstra as he was 2nd in the lineup that day). Not any former Red Sox or even a front-seat Sox fan who attended Game 3. No one.
Former baseball great Lenny Dykstra has vowed to sue former Mets pitcher Ron Darling Jr., who claims in a new book that Dykstra hurled racial slurs at Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during Game 3 of the 1986 World Series.
Dykstra was a key player in that game, hitting a leadoff home run against Boyd in Fenway Park. The Mets would later win the series.
During Game 3, Dykstra shouted “every imaginable and unimaginable insult and expletive in (Oil Can’s) direction — foul, racist, hateful, hurtful stuff,” Ron Darling wrote in his book, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” The book is due out Tuesday.
Like I alluded to earlier on Twitter, Dykstra has proven to be a lot of unsavory things since he retired from baseball, but I’ve never heard about him being a racist. Plus, Lenny had 4 black teammates on the ’86 Mets: Kevin Mitchell, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden and Mookie Wilson. You think in 30-plus years, one of them would’ve said something about this alleged incident by now if was true? Hell, Mookie, Straw and Doc have each written books about their playing days, have done countless interviews and have attended many a reunion with each other (and with Lenny) and this is the first team we’re hearing about Dykstra supposedly yelling racial taunts at Oil Can Boyd. I’ve never heard of Boyd or anyone else out of Boston vouching for this story either. Yeah, Lenny Dykstra may be a nutcase, but that doesn’t make him a racist.
The ’86 Mets starting rotation that Mel coached was arguably the best in the team’s history. RIP.