A former major leaguer’s paint-by-numbers story of redemption.
Strawberry—a New York Mets icon (he also played for the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees), eight-time All-Star and four-time World Series champion—was an enigma. Blessed with limitless talent but frequently injured, often standoffish with the media and occasionally at odds with teammates, he spent his potential hall-of-fame career logging more time in the trainer’s room and the courtroom than the outfield. Highly publicized legal drama—fueled by his addition to drugs, alcohol and women—followed him constantly. Twice divorced, Strawberry admits to following in his delinquent father’s footsteps and assaulting his first two wives—unlike his father, however, he never turned his wrath on his children. A career spent battling addiction reached its nadir with a colon cancer diagnosis in 1998. Forced to retire, Strawberry continued to self-destruct, squandering his fortune and serving time behind bars. After blaming everyone from his abusive father to the vindictive media to his ex-wives, Strawberry finally began to take responsibility. He admitted his mistakes and, after finding God, got himself clean and on the path to recovery. He dedicated his life to his third wife, his five children and charitable causes, such as the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which aids children with autism. Unfortunately, Strawberry won’t garner much sympathy from readers. His angst-filled insistences that he’s a good person with a bad addiction problem quickly wear thin, and his monotonous relapses are so predictable that one begins to wonder why so many people continued to aid him.
There’s nothing original in this tale of woe, but it’s unlikely that the sporting public will ever tire of seeing its fallen heroes repent and make amends.