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Ballplayer-Turned-Financial Adviser Lenny Dykstra Files For Bankruptcy

Former Mets and Phillies all-star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was a feel-good story of the past few years: one of the rare pro athletes who managed to prosper after his playing days were over.

Turns out, not so much.

In his Chapter 11 restructuring filing today, Dykstra lists his assets at $50,000 and his liabilities at -- get this -- between $10 million and $50 million. He filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Central District of California.

Dykstra is facing some 20 lawsuits related to his activities as an adviser and self-styled entrepreneur. He also ran into some trouble for racist remarks he allegedly made earlier this year, when it now looks like he was heading off the tracks.

Here's a piece on ESPN.com from April that makes his whole operation seem a little oily.

Dykstra -- whose playing style was so fearless he earned the nickname "Nails" -- had reinvented himself as a financial adviser, aimed specifically, but not exclusively, at helping athletes manage their millions.

He co-founded a glossy lifestyle magazine called the Players Club aimed at pro athletes.

But it looks like Nails was more talk than walk.

You don't have to have a license to manage your own portfolio or even give advice to friends. But you should be more than a big-talker if you're going to take responsibility for someone else's livelihood and savings.

Pro athletes -- especially baseball players -- are among the biggest and easiest targets for investment advisers.

Why baseball players? Because a) they're millionaires and b) most of the best ones bypass college altogether.

Because there is no minor league system for the NFL or the NBA, most pro football and basketball players spend at least a couple of years on college campuses.

Even though several of the best pro baseball players attended college, many do not. They are drafted out of high school and go directly to their organization's minor league clubs and try to work their way up to the big leagues.

As such, tales of washed-up, broke 29-year-old ballplayers are legion and heartbreaking.

At 46, it took Dykstra a little longer to reach the same place, but he made it, nonetheless.

-- Frank Ahrens
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By Frank Ahrens  |  July 8, 2009; 4:58 PM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  | Tags: Lenny Dykstra, bankruptcy  
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