by Polly Keary
– Monroe Monitor –
Known as one of baseball’s greatest players and worst bad boys, Darryl Strawberry knows what it’s like to lose everything to a destructive lifestyle.
He also knows what it’s like to learn a new way of life, and now seven years clean and sober, he wants to share the story of how he rebuilt himself, body and soul .
This weekend, the baseball legend will make three appearances at Monroe’s Rock Church to share the story of what turned him around.
Strawberry was drafted out of a California high school in 1980 by the New York Mets and worked his way up through the system to join the major league team in 1983. He went on to play in the major leagues for 17 years.
Strawberry has been a world series champion four times, once with the New York Mets in 1986 and three times with the New York Yankees in 1996, 1998 and 1999. He was voted onto the All-Star team eight times, once led the league with a batting average of .545 and become one of only 10 players in history to drive in more than 30 home runs and steal more than 30 bases in a season.
He was also very popular, a ubiquitous face on posters and in ads, and he was beloved of New York baseball fans.
But he was notoriously hot-tempered, feuding with teammates and missing team workouts. And in later years, he began having serious trouble with cocaine, which led to a 1995 suspension. That year he was also charged with failure to pay child support.
He made a strong comeback, but in 1998 was diagnosed with colon cancer, and his career ended soon after. A long series of legal troubles began. He was arrested several times for offenses involving drugs and was in and out of jail, and in 2000 said he’d lost the will to live and stopped chemotherapy.
He went to treatment, and survived his cancer, but his string of relapses and arrests continued into 2005, when he finally was able to get clean.
Since then, he and his wife, who he met in treatment and married in 2005, have devoted their lives to philanthropy, establishing a foundation for autistic children and becoming motivational speakers.
Strawberry credits much of his success to his faith, and has appeared on the 700 Club to talk about it.
He will make three appearances at the Rock Church. Saturday he will speak at an event just for men, and tickets are $5. Sunday he will appear twice, once at 9:30 a.m. and again at 11:30 a.m. Both talks are free and open to all.
For more information, contact the Rock Church at www.therockchurch.info or email firstname.lastname@example.org.