Phillies may not be obliged to pay Dykstra, Daulton

May 07, 1991|By Knight-Ridder

PHILADELPHIA -- If yesterday's car crash involving Len Dykstra and Darren Daulton proves to be the result of drunken driving, the Philadelphia Phillies might not be obliged to pay their two injured players.

Whether the club tries to cut off their salaries is another matter.

Major-league player contracts vary widely, but almost all include a list of prohibited activities. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a standard no-no, along with hobbies such as sky diving and bobsledding.

A player who participates in a barred activity faces a tremendous risk: If he is injured, the team is not required to pay his salary while he recovers.

Such instances, however, are rare. Even in an age of multimillion-dollar contracts, clubs appear reluctant to alienate players by cutting off their paychecks.

Dykstra suffered broken ribs, a broken collarbone and a fractured cheekbone, and was placed on the 60-day disabled list. Daulton suffered a fractured orbital bone around his left eye and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Radnor Township police charged Dykstra with driving under the influence of alcohol. His blood alcohol level upon reaching Bryn Mawr Hospital after the accident was 0.178, police said, far above the legal limit of 0.10.

In recent years, the Phillies have been adamant about including drunken-driving clauses in player pacts. The contract of one recent Phils player, for example, spelled out that the club could withhold paychecks if a player missed time because of such "criminal conduct."

If the injured players' contracts include drunken-driving provisions, no one was talking about it yesterday. "All I'm concerned about is that Lenny is alive and OK," said Dykstra's agent, Alan Meersand.

Based on their 1991 salaries, Dykstra stands to earn about $717,000 during the 60-day period, while Daulton would be due about $147,000 over the next 15 days.

Like Meersand, Phillies officials would not answer contract questions yesterday. Asked if the club might fine the players or seek to withhold their salaries, player personnel director Ed Wade said: "We're not even thinking about it . . . We won't discuss it now."

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