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. Strawberry was formerly an analyst for SportsNet New York. 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.
Background and early careerStrawberry 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. 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. He was named the National League's Rookie of The Year. 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.
Prime yearsStrawberry's Mets from 1984–1990 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 a
In 1989, Strawberry's offensive numbers declined: He had 29 home runs and 77 runs batted, but only had a .225 average. 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. 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, 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.
Later yearsStrawberry'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.
After a suspension from the league at the beginning of 1995 due to his involvement with cocaine,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. 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Post-playing daysStrawberry 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. 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.
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.
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. The restaurant closed in October, 2012.
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.
LegacyNew 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
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.
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 Cibona Zagreb in the Croatian League.