A former Major League Baseball pro who made headlines for both his dazzling athletic career and turbulent history of drug and alcohol abuse will share his testimony of faith April 7 at an Oklahoma City metro-area church.
The Rev. Mark Crow, senior pastor of Victory Church, said former MLB star Darryl Strawberry will be special guest at three services at the church's main campus in Warr Acres and at two services at its Edmond satellite site.
Crow said Strawberry's guest appearance is part of the church's effort to reach out to the community-at-large.
“You're always trying to reach the wide variety of people that live in your city and who create your culture,” he said.
Crow said he knows Strawberry through an organization called Integrity Leadership Ministries. He said the former baseball star, now an ordained minister, has attended the organization's conferences over the past three years.
Crow said he asked Strawberry to visit the church and talk about his life experiences — “how you go from being a superstar to hitting bottom, if you will, to coming back to a place that's better than any place you've ever been.”
Strawberry made the leap from his South Central Los Angeles neighborhood to the big leagues in the 1980s. He was the No. 1 draft pick selected by the New York Mets in 1980. In 1983, he was named National League Rookie of the Year. Known for his numerous home runs, Strawberry and the Mets won the World Series in 1986, and he went on to win the World Series three more times with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998 and 1999). He was an eight-time National League All-Star and National League homerun leader in 1988.
Yet Strawberry's exploits off the baseball field seemed to overshadow his feats on the field. Over the years, he was arrested and jailed numerous times for drug possession and spent time in prison for violating terms of probation.
Crow said Stawberry has been telling his story for the past several years at churches throughout the country and as part of his ministry with his wife, Tracy, Strawberry Ministries.
“Darryl's had an incredible turnaround in his life,” Crow said.
“He's pretty famous for baseball, but he's famous for some really wrong decisions he made. But he turned his life around and gave his life to Christ. Darryl's story is a story that can help all kinds of people.”
Crow said he hopes during the former baseball star's visit to his metro-area church they can discuss and share with church attendees the differences between godly pursuits and a person's individual pursuits.
He said the former star athlete also may talk about how to navigate through both success and adversity and the importance of letting God define oneself — “not our profession, our popularity, not our successes.”