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Darryl Strawberry

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.

Chronology

1962 Born March 12 in Los Angeles, California to Ruby and Henry Strawberry
1980 Drafted by New York Mets
1983 Named MLB Rookie of the Year
1985 Marries Lisa Andrews in January
1986 World Series Championship (with New York Mets)
1990 Undergoes treatment for alcoholism
1990 Arrested on weapons charge and convicted of tax evasion
1990 Loses paternity suit brought by Lisa Clayton
1991 Signs with Los Angeles Dodgers
1993 Divorces Lisa Andrews; marries Charisse Simons on December 3
1994 Undergoes treatment for alcoholism and drug dependency
1994 Signs with San Francisco Giants; released from contract after testing positive for drug use
1995 Suspended from major league baseball for cocaine use
1995 Signs with New York Yankees, but released from contract in December
1996 New York Yankees pick up Strawberry's contract; becomes active player the following year
1998 Undergoes surgery for colon cancer
1999 Arrested for solicitation and drug possession
1999 Placed on leave by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig
2000 Received one-year suspension from baseball after testing positive for drug use
2000 Arrested for parole violations; ordered into drug treatment for two years
2002 Sentenced to eighteen months in Florida prison for parole violations

Awards and Accomplishments

1982 Named Most Valuable Player in Texas League
1983 Named MLB Rookie of the Year
1986 World Series Championship (with New York Mets)

Additional topics

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: