Legendary Mets slugger Darryl Strawberry says he was scoring on and off the field, launching major home runs at the plate, and clearing the bases with women between innings in the clubhouse.
Strawberry spilled the tea to Dr. Oz this week saying
“In the middle of games, yeah, I would go between innings, and stuff like that, and run back and have a little party going on,” Strawberry said. “I thought it was pretty cool. That’s just the addiction, the drive.”
Even when he struggled in the batter’s box, Strawberry said he could still find his swing in the clubhouse, describing how he would dispatch dugout attendants into the Shea Stadium stands to find women who wanted to see him. — with the help of teammates and coaches.
“Some of them covered for me,” he said of the players and team staffers. “They were pretty cool.”
Strawberry said the sex between innings was part of the destructive behavior that led to his downfall.
“It’s a behavior that’s not good for anyone,” Strawberry said. “But when you have an addictive personality — like addicts, and alcoholics, and sex addiction — it’s an addictive personality. And we turn it on and turn it off. And it’s not until you have an awakening in your life to get well on the inside, and so many people never get to that place.”
Strawberry played on the notoriously wild Mets teams in the late 1980s. While they won the World Series in 1986, several members of that team have had well chronicled battles with drugs and alcohol.
Teammate Dwight Gooden was a known drug addict who missed the World Series parade because he was feeding his habit. Lenny Dykstra has made a cottage industry off recounting all the drugs he did and women he had sex with during his wilding out days and nights in the big leagues.
Strawberry played 17 years with the majors including the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees but said last year his career would have been much shorter if he were playing today because of social media and cell phones with cameras everywhere.
“They would have seen a lot of things they didn’t need to see,” Strawberry said.
Now the former Mets hitter, 55, is a born-again Christian and an ordained minister and is focused on giving back.
Strawberry said he’s taken it upon himself to reach out to athletes who struggle with drugs and alcohol.
He told Dr. Oz he tried contacting former NBA player and Queens native Lamar Odom, who admitted he was addicted to cocaine earlier this year.
Odom was once arrested on charges of driving under the influence and two years later was hospitalized after overdosing at a brothel in Nevada.
“I reached out a couple of times,” Strawberry said. “Tried to reach him and, just to encourage him that his, his life matters, you know, no matter what he’s going through.”
It didn’t appear that Strawberry ever made contact with Odom.
Strawberry, who now runs two drug-treatment facilities in Florida, said he relates to other addicts by talking about the physical abuse he suffered at the hands of his father.
“I’ve told them it’s not their fault what has happened to them. My abusive father, the abuse from my father wasn’t my fault,” he said. “I didn’t sign up to be a drug addict, but eventually, you know, it happened.”
A book detailing Strawberry’s addiction and recovery, “Don’t Give Up On Me: Shedding Light on Addiction with Darryl Strawberry,” came out in October.
He married his wife Tracy in October 2006, and the couple run The Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which is aimed at helping people with autism.
Props to Strawberry and his wife for all they are doing and having the courage to tell his truth.
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