Dykstra files for Chapter 11

NEW YORK -- Lenny Dykstra, the former star
center fielder for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, has filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection.

The 46-year-old has no more than $50,000 of assets and
between $10 million and $50 million of liabilities, according
to a petition filed Tuesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in
the Central District of California.

Dykstra's filing comes in the wake of more than 20 lawsuits
he faces tied to his activities as a financial entrepreneur,
including The Players Club, a glossy magazine for athletes he
had helped launch in 2008.

According to an April article on ESPN.com, Dykstra put his
net worth at $60 million, and also owned a black Rolls Royce
Phantom and Gulfstream II jet.

Known as "Nails" and "The Dude," Dykstra played for 12
years with the Mets and the Phillies before retiring in 1996
with a lifetime .285 batting average, 81 home runs, 404 runs
batted in, and 285 stolen bases.

He helped the Mets win the World Series in 1986, and as a
Phillie was the National League runner-up to Barry Bonds in MVP voting in 1993. The Phillies lost the
World Series that year.

Walter Hackett, a lawyer for Dykstra, said the event
triggering the bankruptcy filing was a planned foreclosure sale
of a southern California residence that Dykstra bought from
hockey legend Wayne Gretzky for $17.5 million in 2007.

Dykstra is "in good spirits," Hackett said in an interview.
"He understands now that bankruptcy is truly a protective act.
I do expect that Lenny is going to emerge from Chapter 11, and
make those people whole who have legitimate claims."

According to the bankruptcy petition, Dykstra's largest
unsecured creditors include units of JPMorgan Chase & Co., owed $12.9 million, and Bank of America Corp,
owed a combined $4.2 million.

Hackett said Washington Mutual, now part of JPMorgan, was
the main lender on the 2007 home purchase, and that the bank
misled Dykstra about his ability to afford the property. The
lawyer said the bank deserves nothing on its claim.

JPMorgan spokesman Tom Kelly said: "We don't comment on
individual cases, but we expect our customers to repay their
legal obligations under their mortgages when possible."