Darryl Strawberry

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Darryl Strawberry
Darryl Strawberry 2008-09-28.jpg
Darryl Strawberry at homeplate in Shea Stadium, Goodbye to Shea, on September 28, 2008
Right fielder
Born: (1962-03-12) March 12, 1962 (age 52)
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
May 6, 1983 for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1999 for the New York Yankees
Career statistics
Batting average .259
Home runs 335
Runs batted in 1,000
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Darryl Eugene Strawberry (born March 12, 1962) is a former American Major League Baseball outfielder and an ordained Christian minister and author.[1] Strawberry is well known for his career in baseball and his controversial personal life. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in the game, known for his prodigious home runs and his intimidating presence in the batter's box with his 6-foot-6 frame and his long, looping swing that elicited comparisons to Ted Williams.[2][3]

During his 17-year career, he helped lead the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986 and the New York Yankees to three World Series championships in 1996, 1998 and 1999. A popular player during his career, Strawberry was voted to the All-Star Game eight straight times from 1984–1991.[4] Strawberry was formerly an analyst for SportsNet New York.[5] His memoir, Straw: Finding My Way, written in collaboration with author John Strausbaugh, was published on April 28, 2009 by Ecco Press, an imprint of HarperCollins publishers.[6]

Biography[edit]

Background and early career[edit]

Strawberry was born to Henry and Ruby Strawberry in Los Angeles, California. He played high school baseball for the Crenshaw High School Cougars along with Chris Brown. Strawberry was drafted first overall in the 1980 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Mets.[7] Darryl's older brother Michael Strawberry was also selected in that draft; going to the Dodgers in the 31st round. Employing a distinctive batting stance with a high leg kick, Strawberry rose through the Mets system and reached the major league level in 1983, posting 26 home runs, 7 triples, and 74 runs batted in, while hitting for a .257 average.[7] He was named the National League's Rookie of The Year.[7][8] In 1984, he made it to the All-Star game for the first of eight consecutive appearances (the first five as a starter) and once again hit 26 home runs, this time driving in 97.[7]

Prime years[edit]

Strawberry's Mets from 19841990 formed one of the premier teams in the National League, finishing either first or second in the division every year. But as good as the Mets were on the field, they constantly feuded off the field. Despite this, Strawberry remained an iconic figure in not only New York City, but across America. He was loathed by opposing fans, but beloved by New Yorkers and young fans across the country.

During the period from 1983 to 1990, Strawberry was very popular, with his image used on action figures (Kenner's Starting Lineup), posters and banners. He was also known for his disruptive behavior. He got into a physical altercation on team picture day with team captain Keith Hernandez[9] and in the midst of a war of words with infielder Wally Backman, threatened to "bust that little redneck in the face".[10] He often overslept and was late for, or missed, team workouts.[10] He publicly complained about Manager Davey Johnson after he was removed from the game in a double switch during the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, which the Mets would go on to win.[10] During the regular season in 1986, Strawberry hit 27 homers and had 93 RBIs.[7]

In 1987, Strawberry hit 39 home runs and stole 36 bases, joining the exclusive 30-30 club[11] at the time becoming one of only 10 players in baseball history to accomplish the feat. In addition to that, he hit 32 doubles and drove in 104 runs. Despite this, the 1987 team barely missed the playoffs.

In 1988, Strawberry once again hit 39 home runs to lead the National League. He also drove in 101 runs and led the league in slugging percentage at .545 and OPS at .911.[7] He finished a very close second in MVP voting to the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson. Strawberry led the Mets to the playoffs, losing to the Dodgers in seven games in the National League championship series.[7]

In 1989, Strawberry's offensive numbers declined: He had 29 home runs and 77 runs batted, but only had a .225 average.[7] Nevertheless, the Mets came in a close second place to the Chicago Cubs in the National League East.

In 1990, Strawberry hit 37 home runs, while driving in 108 runs and batting for a .277 average.[7] His Mets, however, came once again in a close second place in the NL's east, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates by three games. Strawberry finished second in MVP voting that season, the highest placing in his career.

Strawberry signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers on November 8, 1990,[7] inking a lucrative five-year $22.25 million contract. In California, he was named Big Brother of The Year for 1991. After hitting 28 home runs and bringing in 99 runs batted in a successful first year for the Dodgers, injuries and personal problems kept him sidelined for much of the next two seasons, hitting five home runs in each season.

By the end of the 1991 season, he had 280 lifetime homers at the age of only 29, drawing comparisons to home run king Hank Aaron.[12]

Later years[edit]

Strawberry's numbers tailed off considerably after 1991; over the next two years he only played in 75 games. In 1994, he was released in May by the Dodgers and signed with the San Francisco Giants, where he saw limited playing time as he tried to make a comeback, hitting only four home runs and driving in 17 runs that year.[7]

After a suspension from the league at the beginning of 1995 due to his involvement with cocaine,[13] Strawberry signed with the New York Yankees for the stretch run. The next year, Darryl signed with the Saint Paul Saints of the Northern League on May 3, 1996 in an attempt to rehabilitate. On June 2, the Saints faced the Duluth-Superior Dukes at Wade Stadium, where Strawberry hit his first home run for the Saints, at a distance of 522' off of pitcher Pat Ahearne.[14] Soon thereafter, he found himself back with the Yankees who signed him on July 4, 1996.

With the Yankees, he showed flashes of his former brilliance, belting 11 home runs in a part-time role and helping his team win the World Series in 1996 alongside former Mets teammates Dwight Gooden and David Cone. His second career three-homer game came against the Chicago White Sox on August 6 of that season.[15]

He had a big series against the Baltimore Orioles in the 1996 ALCS as he blasted three home runs with five RBIs and a .417 average in four games.[7] In 1997, he did not have any home runs, with his playing time limited by injuries. He played in just 11 games that year, collecting just two runs batted in.[7]

But in 1998, he had 24 home runs, once again helping the Yankees win the World Series and playing 100 games for the first time since 1991. This was also the year he was diagnosed with colon cancer.[16] In 1999, he made a comeback from his cancer treatment, but saw limited playing time, hitting 3 home runs. He did however hit a crucial 3-run home run against the Texas Rangers in the 1999 American League Division Series helping the Yankees advance to the ALCS.[7]

Post-playing days[edit]

Darryl Strawberry, American Century Celebrity Golf Classic, July 13, 2008

Strawberry attended the Mets' 1986 World Champion team reunion on August 19, 2006, where he and the rest of the team received a standing ovation from fans at Shea Stadium in an on-field ceremony.[17] Strawberry worked as an instructor for the New York Mets in 2005 and 2008, and was inducted to the Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.

Strawberry has made regular appearances at the New York Yankees' Old Timer's Day, most recently in 2012.[18]

He proclaims to be an evangelical born-again Christian and has appeared on The Trinity Broadcasting Network. In 1999, he and Tiny Lister appeared on evangelist Benny Hinn's T.V. program giving their testimonies. Strawberry has also appeared on The 700 Club to talk about his life and his newfound faith in Jesus.[19]

Strawberry threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Shea Stadium before Game 1 of the National League Championship Series between the Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct 12, 2006. He was given a rousing ovation by the Shea Stadium crowd. He served as an anchor on the Mets pre- and post- game shows on SNY in 2007 and 2008, eventually settling into a part-time analysis role for the 2009 season.

Strawberry opened his own restaurant, Strawberry's Sports Grill, in Douglaston, Queens in August 2010.[20] The restaurant closed in October 2012.[21]

Darryl frequently donates to charity and is a headliner of the BGC Charity Day event at BGC Partners, where he brokered over 5MM GD4.5 roll.[22]

Legacy[edit]

New York baseball fans remember Darryl Strawberry as a clutch postseason hitter; capable of delivering one of his signature "Moonshot" home runs seemingly on command. His prolific post season appearances with both area teams garnered him loyalty among both fan bases in the business and media mecca. Despite his controversies, Strawberry is generally well regarded by the public and the media. Of the 10 postseason series Strawberry played in, he was on the winning team eight times. In 40 postseason games, Strawberry hit nine home runs with 22 RBIs and 20 runs scored.

Strawberry was the starting right fielder five straight times and appeared at nine All-Star games. Strawberry batted .333 with two stolen bases and two runs in 12 career All-Star at-bats. Interestingly, he had two three-home run games in his career, both of which came against Chicago teams and were almost 11 years to the day between each other. The first came against the Cubs on August 5, 1985, and the second was on August 6, 1996, against the White Sox.

Strawberry is one of only five Major League Baseball players to hit two pinch-hit grand slams in the same season. The others are Davey Johnson of the Philadelphia Phillies, Mike Ivie of the San Francisco Giants, Ben Broussard of the Cleveland Indians, and Brooks Conrad of the Atlanta Braves.[23]

Strawberry is one of only three players in MLB history to have played for the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants. The others are Ricky Ledee and Jose Vizcaino. Of the three, only Strawberry has played only for the four current or former New York MLB franchises.[24]

He now resides in St. Charles County, Missouri with his wife Tracy whom he met in a drug recovery convention. The couple were married in October 2006 and have since founded "The Darryl Strawberry Foundation," an organization dedicated to children with autism. Strawberry's son, Darryl "D.J." Strawberry, Jr., born in 1985, was a star shooting guard with the Maryland Terrapins men's basketball team and was drafted by the Phoenix Suns in the 2007 NBA Draft. D.J. currently plays professionally for Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez in the French League.

The Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center[edit]

On January 24, 2014, The Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center (DSRC) celebrated its Grand Opening[25] at the first of several planned locations throughout the US in St. Cloud, Florida. DSRC was founded in partnership with Darryl Strawberry and Oglethorpe Healthcare Inc. to provide athletes and individuals suffering from substance abuse with a center for excellence in addiction treatment and recovery. The facility features carefully planned and staffed grounds that include spacious rooms, comfortable common areas and expansive outdoor recreational spaces.

"I’ve had my own personal battles with substance abuse in the past so I understand the need for care that’s focused on treating each client with a personalized treatment plan that addresses the root cause of their disease,” said Darryl Strawberry. “That’s what individuals and professional athletes can expect to find here at the Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center."

The center’s 28-day residential treatment program treats addiction and all forms of substance abuse including prescription medications. The program provides medical detoxification followed by primary treatment, including a 1-year continuing care plan designed specifically around the needs of each client. DSRC also features a program tailored specifically for current and former athletes, Athletes Helping Athletes, to address the underlying issues and demands placed on athlete clients. In addition, neurofeedback services will also be available for athletes and those suffering the long-term effects of concussions.

Legal, health and personal problems[edit]

  • On December 19, 1995, Strawberry was charged in California with failing to make child support payments. When he missed a June 5, 1996, deadline to pay the child support, a Los Angeles judge set a trial date of July 17, at which time Strawberry agreed to use his signing bonus to pay the debt.[26]
  • On October 1, 1998, Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer. Two days later, he had surgery to remove a tumor and 24 inches of his colon. On October 14, doctors announced that cancer had been detected in a lymph node so he would also have to undergo chemotherapy.[27]
  • On April 3, 1999, Strawberry was arrested in Tampa, Florida for soliciting sex from a policewoman posing as a prostitute and for having a small amount of cocaine. On April 24, he was suspended for 140 days by Major League Baseball for the incident. On May 29, he pleaded no contest to the charges and was sentenced to 21 months probation and community service.[28]
  • On July 28, 2000, a C.T. scan suggested that Strawberry's cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. The next month, he had surgery to remove a tumor and a kidney on August 7.[29]
  • On September 11, 2000, in Tampa, Strawberry tried to drive to see his probation officer after taking painkillers. While driving, he blacked out, rear-ended another car, and then tried to drive away. An off-duty police officer witnessed the episode and arrested him at gunpoint. The next day, Strawberry admitted to the charges and his probation was changed to two years of house arrest. On November 21, he was sentenced to a year of probation and community service.[30]
  • On October 25, 2000, Strawberry left a Tampa drug treatment center to use drugs with a female friend violating his house arrest and parole. On November 9, he was sentenced to 40 days in jail with credit for time served.[31]
  • On November 3, 2000, Strawberry told a judge in Tampa that he had lost his will to live and had stopped chemotherapy. On November 30, he was released from jail and sent back to rehab.[32]
  • On April 2, 2001, Strawberry was arrested for again disappearing from his house arrest drug treatment center in Tampa. On May 1, he was sentenced to more time at a drug treatment center.[33]
  • On March 12, 2002, Strawberry was back in jail for violating several non-drug rules at the drug treatment center where he was on probation in Ocala, Florida. On April 29, he was ordered to serve the 22-month suspended prison sentence from 1999.[34]
  • On April 8, 2003, he was released from prison after 11 months.[35]
  • In September 2005 Strawberry was charged with filing a false police report after he claimed his SUV was stolen. He admitted that he had lied on the report but was not arrested because it was a misdemeanor.[36]
  • In October 2005, his wife Charisse filed for divorce and wished him well.[37]

In media[edit]

Strawberry appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated seven times: five times by himself, once with Don Mattingly, and once with Dwight Gooden.

In 2004 the Rebecca Gilman play The Sweetest Swing in Baseball premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The lead character—Dana, as portrayed by Gillian Anderson—adopts the personality and speech of Darryl Strawberry in an attempt to pass herself off as schizophrenic. The title is a reference to Strawberry's playing skills.

Strawberry appeared, as himself, in The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat". He was a featured pro on the second season of the physical reality game show Pros vs. Joes. He currently does occasional commentary for baseball on SportsNet New York.[citation needed]

In 2010, Strawberry appeared on NBC's The Apprentice with Sharon Osbourne, Cyndi Lauper, Bret Michaels, and others. At the end of the 3rd episode, Strawberry was fired when he suggested he was the weakest contestant. Donald Trump insisted he wanted to go home because he was tired and homesick. After Strawberry made a successful return in the season finale to assist Bret Michaels, Donald Trump made a donation of $25,000 to his charity, The Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which supports children with Autism. Strawberry placed 12th.

On February 8, 2011, Strawberry appeared along with Clara Hughes and Stephane Richer on a Canadian documentary by Michael Landsberg to talk about his battle with depression.[38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.strawberryministries.org/#!minister-darryl/chei
  2. ^ Slate.com
  3. ^ The Straw Stirs
  4. ^ "Chat: Chat with Darryl Strawberry - SportsNation - ESPN". Espn.go.com. January 2, 2011. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "NYFS ny mets message boards • View topic - Darryl Strawberry no longer working with Mets/SNY". Nyfuturestars.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ Strawberry, Darryl (April 2009). Straw: Finding My Way. Ecco. ISBN 978-0-06-170420-8. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Darryl Strawberry Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry inducted into the Mets' Hall of Fame". Content.usatoday.com. August 1, 2010. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ "ESPN.com - Page2 - I hate you like a brother". Espn.go.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "Lisa Clayton Darryl Strawberry | Darryl Strawberry Chronology - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. May 26, 1994. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ New York Mets: Darryl Strawberry and the Top 10 Power Hitters in Team History
  12. ^ "Who Can Catch Hank Aaron?". Wcnet.org. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Darryl Strawberry Chronology". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  14. ^ Darryl Strawberry Info
  15. ^ By D.L. Cummings (August 8, 1996). "After His Huge Three-homer Night, Darryl Rounds Third And Heads Straight Home - New York Daily News". Articles.nydailynews.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ "ESPN biography of Darryl Strawberry". Retrieved July 12, 2006. 
  17. ^ Olson, Lisa (August 20, 2006). "Reunion like it oughta be". New York Daily News. Retrieved August 21, 2006. 
  18. ^ "Yankees to hold 66th Old-Timers' Day on Sunday, July 1 | yankees.com: News". Newyork.yankees.mlb.com. June 25, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Darryl Strawberry's Way to the Cross". Cbn.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ Williams, Alex (October 14, 2010). "Up Close - Making Peace by Serving Wings". New York Times. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  21. ^ Orovic, Joseph (October 18, 2012). "Darryl Strawberry’s restaurant closes for good - Queens Chronicle: North/Northeast Queens News". Qchron.com. Retrieved January 28, 2013. 
  22. ^ "BCG Charity Day", September 2010.
  23. ^ MLB.com news article
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ http://strawberrycenter.com/press-release-grand-opening
  26. ^ USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/sbbw0511.htm |url= missing title (help). Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Strawberry agrees to pay support for wife, children". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Sports | The Augusta Chronicle". Augustasports.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Strawberry In Stable Condition". CBS News. August 7, 2000. 
  30. ^ "Strawberry sentenced to probation, community service". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  31. ^ "Strawberry sentenced to 30 days in jail". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Strawberry stops chemotheraphy, wants release from jail". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Strawberry remains hospitalized after cocaine binge". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  34. ^ "Former slugger gets 18 months for violating probation". CNN. Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  35. ^ "Strawberry released 11 months into 18-month term". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Strawberry charged with filing false report". ESPN. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Charisse Strawberry files for divorce from Darryl". ESPN. Retrieved April 5, 2012. 
  38. ^ http://www.ctv.ca/BellLetsTalk/Video.aspx#clip615574

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Andre Dawson
National League Player of the Month
September 1987
Succeeded by
Bobby Bonilla