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Darryl Strawberry's Greatest Gift to God

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His unique name helped distinguished a colorful career, thriving with baseball success while hurdling personal setbacks saying, “If I just identify myself as Darryl Strawberry, the Major League baseball player, I miss the whole mark of life.” 

Few have achieved more than Darryl Strawberry, a top Major League draft pick and rookie of the year, a 3-time world champion, and 8-time all-star, adding, “That was part of my life. But that’s no longer who I am today.”

Nearly two decades sober, the imposing slugger watches his New York Mets jersey immortalized while kneeling for what’s redemptive and eternal. 

Question: “A life of willing transformation. What do you see that’s honorable when the number goes up?”

Darryl Strawberry: “I see how God rescues, redeems, and restores. Not some things, but all things. His plan is like greater than anything we can ever imagine. Sometimes God needs to stop certain people to get their attention so you can recognize that He’s God. That’s what happened in my life. I had all this fame and fortune, but the promises over my life were greater than my baseball career.” 

Question: “That Mets franchise is where you had most of your Major League success. Does it give you a sense of completion? 

Darryl Strawberry: “Completion for me. To say thank you. Thank you to a city, the fans, thank you to the organization. So many other people, my family, my wife, kids! Had it not been for the guys I played with – it takes a great team to make you a great player! The teams I played on in seven years we had a chance to win.”

Question: “First or second place finishes.”

Darryl Strawberry: “Yes. So, I never finished under second!”

Question: “Back to Shea Stadium with a crazed clubhouse on some accounts. How do you now see the professional part of the success and the personal part of some the failure that came with it?”

Darryl Strawberry: “There’s two parts of life – achieving and the struggle. The Bible didn’t say some of us would fall short. He said we would all fall short of the glory of God. So, understanding falling short was a part of it. It doesn’t mean you stay there. And that’s when I was able to fall on my knees...Jesus was there! Seven years of discipleship, of learning God’s Word and learning who God is. I’m glad I took the time off to do that to become that man.”

Question: “Does it inspire you, seeing his life?”

Dwight “Doc” Gooden: “Definitely! It still inspires me. I know he’s a guy that I can call, not going to judge me. He can relate to the things that I struggle with and I can talk to him about anything, to be open with him, knowing it's not going to go anywhere. I remember 7 years ago now when my mom was sick, he went to visit my mom and spent like two hours with my mom, prayed over my mom, that’s when I knew it was for real.”

Question: “The pain of uncertainty. How has all that position you as an overcomer?

Darryl Strawberry: “We all have some type of pain, some type of hurt, some type of rejection, loneliness that we go through. I didn’t have a father. He rejected me. So, I had to battle through that. That was my own personal battle to get out on this field and make it happen. So, there was some major pieces missing in my life when I had my career of being a man. And I didn’t learn all of that until I went through the addiction, the sinful lifestyle, the cancer, losing my left kidney and now having a major heart attack at 62. He has extended me more time to complete His work.”

Question: “Darryl, do we underserve what and more importantly, those who've invested into us, along our journey?”

Darryl Strawberry: “I’m glad for the struggle because I probably never would have found the symbol of the cross. I’d probably still today still be chasing notoriety than being the man God wanted me to be. I’m living the legacy of my mom and what she prayed for. And I’m so thankful for that because that’s transformation because Christ is alive and Christ comes in you, now Christ lives in you.”

Question: “In a career linked to statistics and performance how do you hear His approval, not for what you do but for who you are?”

Darryl Strawberry: “You receive His approval when you know Him. Every day. Even in the hard times. You talk to Him. He’s your Father, and He speaks to you, and He lets you know – ‘I got you!' I live for the Kingdom. I don’t live a brand. I don’t live for applause. I live because of what Jesus has done and I know what the light looks like. The light is greater than the darkness. And people need to understand that.”

Brandon Nimmo, Mets Outfielder: “I knew his story and gravitated towards him. He welcomed that right away and we’ve been able to have great conversation of the radical change that Jesus can bring into your life when you accept Him and bring Him in. For me it's an incredible story that’s really inspiring.”

Jay Horwitz, Mets VP Alumni Relations: “You know everybody says, ‘Well, should he have made the Hall of Fame – maybe, probably, but for me what he’s doing now in his ministry work, helping people, traveling around the country, when he had his heart attack what he said to me was, ‘every day I’m off the road it's one less person I can help.’ To me ­is much more important than a plaque in Cooperstown.”

Question: “The term immortalized. You’ll have your number on that. I just wonder how it brings you into that image of God that He call's us.”

Darryl Strawberry: “That’s more important, the radical change that my life has taken. I’ve had an incredible encounter with God, and it has been the greatest gift I’ve ever received. Have I had an effect on people’s lives and bought a lot of cheer from a ball game? Yes! That’s baseball. But being in ministry, and preaching the gospel, and having an effect on people’s lives – that’s eternal! It’s a whole different destiny. I look at how great God is. Nobody’s like God. Nobody can do what He does!”

Question: “For Darryl Strawberry, why should the jersey, the number, the banner of Jesus Christ be raised?”

Darryl Strawberry: “Well, because He’s the King. We don’t crown ourself. We crown the King. I need to crown Him for what He has done. Because Darryl Strawberry, the great baseball player in the flesh of who I was, he no longer lives. Jesus Christ is the miracle maker. Not us. Not a uniform. Not a number hanging up. Jesus Christ is the miracle maker. And His love for people is to spare people and to save people.”

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About The Author

Tom Buehring

Tom currently travels as a National Sports Correspondent for The 700 Club and CBN News. He engages household sports names to consider the faith they’ve discovered within their own unique journey. He has over 30 years of experience as a TV sports anchor, show host, reporter and producer, working commercially at stations in Seattle, Tampa, Nashville and Fayetteville where he developed, launched and hosted numerous nightly and weekly shows and prime-time specials. Prior to his TV market hopping, Tom proposed and built an academic/intern television broadcast program at the University of North