Drafted By New York Mets
Strawberry's first assignment was with the Kingsport, Pennsylvania Mets, where the right fielder had a .268 batting average in forty-four games. In 1981 he advanced to the Lynchburg, Virginia Hillcats, where his batting average remained a steady .255. Strawberry spent part of the 1982 season with the Jackson, Mississippi Generals—where he was the leading home run hitter and earned Most Valuable Player (MVP) status in the Texas League—before returning to Virginia to play for the Tidewater Hurricanes in the playoffs. Often homesick and uncomfortable with the racism that he sometimes encountered in the South, Strawberry was eager to join the roster of the Mets in New York. He spent just a few games with Tidewater in the 1983 season before being brought up to the major league in May of that year.
When Strawberry joined the Mets, he was hailed as the team's best hope in restoring its fortunes after years of lackluster performance. Although the "Marvelous Mets" had won a surprising World Series championship in 1969, they were often derided by New York fans in favor of the Yankees, who were perennial title contenders. When pitcher Dwight Gooden—who would face his own substance-abuse problems in later years—joined the Mets' lineup in 1984, the team completed its turnaround. With a .257 batting average the prior year, Strawberry had already won MLB Rookie of the Year honors. Along with first baseman Keith Hernandez, Strawberry and Gooden powered the Mets to a World Series victory in seven games over the Boston Red Sox in 1986. By that time, however, Strawberry already faced the first of his legal troubles.
Famous Sports StarsBaseballDarryl Strawberry Biography - Grew Up In Compton, Drafted By New York Mets, Chronology, Substance Abuse Problems, Signed With New York Yankees - SELECTED WRITINGS BY STRAWBERRY: