How the former baseball star went from unlikely business success to financial ruin—and now sentenced to three years in prison:

Even after his financial and legal troubles came to public light, Dykstra refused to give up the trappings of the gilded life. He continued to fly on private planes, and the charges that landed him in prison—many details of which have not been previously reported—stemmed from his apparently insatiable appetite for flashy cars, some of which he obtained using falsified financial documents. “He had to have all of these trappings to prove to himself he was as good as he thought he was,” L.A. County Deputy DA Alex Karkanen told SI after Monday’s sentencing.

In the unreleased documentary, filmed after his bankruptcy filing, the former Met and Phillie explains the importance of a private plane to his contentedness. “I said, O.K., I know I’ll be happy when I buy my own Gulfstream,” says Dykstra, reflecting on the plane he purchased in 2007. “But I got down to the end of the nose, I looked back and I said, O.K., happy, come on, come on. So it’s not about the Gulfstream. But it is about the Gulfstream. Meaning it just wasn’t as good a Gulfstream as I wanted.”

“How Lenny Dykstra Got Nailed.” — David Epstein, Sports Illustrated

See also: “Going…Going…Gone.” — Gabriel Sherman, GQ, April 1, 2009

Photo: Danny Moloshok, Reuters files