The youngest of Henry and Ruby Strawberry's three boys Darryl was born on March 12‚ 1962 in Los Angeles. When Darryl was 13‚ Henry‚ a postal worker who enjoyed gambling and drinking to excess‚ separated from Ruby‚ a telephone-company employee.
At Crenshaw High‚ in one of the city's toughest neighborhoods‚ Strawberry channeled his energy into basketball and baseball. Crenshaw High baseball games became a gathering place for scouts as Strawberry hit .400 as a senior. The Mets made him the No. 1 pick in the 1980 free-agent draft.
He was voted the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1983‚ but the best was still to come. The Mets rolled to 108 victories in 1986‚ with Strawberry hitting 27 homers and knocking in 93 runs. Strawberry homered in the Game 7 win over Boston in the World Series. He also became the first NL player voted to the All-Star Game in each of his first four full seasons.
In the 80s and 90s‚ Straw faced several charges of domestic assault‚ as well as several drug charges‚ which landed him in rehab on multiple occasions.
In 1990‚ Strawberry returned home‚ signing a five-year‚ $20.3- million contract with the Dodgers. He set a club record for most homers by a lefthanded hitter in 1991‚ but lower back injuries curtailed his next two seasons.
After failing to show for the Dodgers' final exhibition game in 1994 -- he wasn't located until the following day -- Strawberry admitted to having a substance abuse problem and entered Betty Ford Center. He was released by the Dodgers and signed with the Giants.
Two months after the season ended‚ Strawberry and his agent‚ Eric Goldschmidt‚ were indicted on federal tax evasion charges for failing to report income from card and autograph shows. Two months later‚ Strawberry tested positive for cocaine and was suspended by MLB. The Giants released him‚ but the Yankees signed Strawberry in 1995.
After a sterling first World Series with the Yankees‚ Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer on October 1‚ 1997. He underwent surgery two days later. While attempting a comeback in 1999‚ Strawberry was arrested during extended spring training in Tampa for cocaine possession and for soliciting an undercover officer for sex. He was given a four-month suspension by MLB and then returned to help the Yankees win a second straight world championship.
Three months later‚ Strawberry again tested positive for cocaine. He was suspended by MLB for one year‚ during which time he underwent additional cancer surgery.
In 2001‚ a four-day drug binge left Strawberry suicidal. After a hospital stay‚ he was sentenced in May to spend two years in a drug treatment center. Sentenced to 18 months for violating his probation‚ Strawberry was released in 2003 from the Gainesville Correctional Institution.
Since his 2003 release‚ Straw has married again and devoted himself to his church and to his work with autistic children via the Darryl Strawberry Foundation.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 05 / 2009
- 150 x 225mm