Darryl Strawberry’s website, strawberryministries.org, proclaims a message:
I AM NOT WHAT I HAVE DONE, I AM WHAT I HAVE OVERCOME
Which explains why Strawberry no longer identifies himself with baseball. Even if the rest of us do. Anyone does who followed baseball in the 1980s. A name, a game, like Darryl Strawberry’s, is impossible to forget.
Strawberry hit 252 home runs in eight seasons, 1981-88, with the New York Metropolitans. Strawberry was on a collision course to Cooperstown. But he crashed into drug addiction first.
Which explains why Strawberry will speak at the Night of Hope OKC on Friday night at Quail Springs Baptist Church. Strawberry’s recovery from drug addiction has led him to a life of ministry, a thriving marriage and a separation from the sport that made him famous.
“I’m basically not involved in baseball anymore,” Strawberry said. “I personally don’t have anything against it, but I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I don’t identify myself in baseball anymore.”
Strawberry’s life and career spiraled out of control. After leaving the Mets in free agency, Strawberry played nine more seasons — and hit just 83 home runs. He was a cocaine addict who constantly ran afoul of the law. He had two failed marriages and six children. Strawberry’s life was a mess.
But in 2001, Strawberry met a woman at a narcotics center convention. She was a recovering addict whose life also was in disarray. Now Darryl and Tracy Strawberry have been married for eight years and have a ministry, based out of St. Peters, Mo., that operates two addiction recovery centers and seeks to save lives, marriages and souls.
“Darryl Strawberry is one of the most captivating speakers I’ve ever heard,” said Lance Long, executive director of Hope is Alive Ministries, which hosts Night of Hope. “He keeps you on the edge of your seat as he retells his story openly and honestly. Describing in detail what addiction stole from him and how he’s managed to recover his life one day at a time.”
Night of Hope aims to instill hope in the lives of those in the OKC-area recovery community.
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of … helping other people,” Strawberry said. “There’s a message behind every madness, if we can just get well.