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Check out what the 2023 Ram 1500 has to offer by visiting ram.com today. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show, from the arts to sports and from business to history and everything in between, including your story. Send them to our American stories dot com. They're some of our favorites. After years of hard living, blowing through more than 30 million dollars, former slugger Darryl Strawberry found his true calling and sat down with Greg Hangler to share the story. Darryl didn't waste any time getting to the heart of his dysfunction.
Here's one of Major League Baseball's greats, Darryl Strawberry. Pretty much probably my parents, and you know, that's really where my story started from, you know, in my life. And I think it was more of a dysfunction, you know, in my life because of my father, you know, he was more of a, you know, abusive man, very, you know, alcoholic and drank a lot and came home a lot, you know, with just so much confusion. There was for the last time he came home with the confusion of being drunk again and and then pulling out a shotgun and said that he was going to kill the whole family. And had it not been for my mother, me and my brothers would have killed him that night had not been for her getting us out of the house, because we were like really fed up with it because we had seen this so many times over and over again. And it just had reached a point, you know, I was only about 14 years old. So, me and Ronnie, my brother Ronnie, my brothers, that's a one year ahead of me, me and him had the real run ins with my father about every little thing, every little infraction that came up, you know, it was always a beating, you know, he had to take our shirts off, make us take our shirt off and lay across the bed and, you know, like a vacuum, vacuum clean extension cord, he used to use that to beat us. And and it was like, there was no love there, you know, there was no love. And, you know, there was no understanding. And we just we just kind of grew up, we grew up in a place of hating him and, you know, kind of wishing, you know, the fact that we used to sit in rooms and saying wishing that he was dead, you know, because I remember my brother Ronnie said one time after he got a beating, he goes, I'm gonna kill him one day, you know, and, and, and we came closer that night, you know, Ronnie was the first one to grab the butcher knife, you know, and I grabbed a frying pan.
And we came really close to killing him that night. And like I said, had my mother not gotten us out the house. This is the relationship that I had with my father, it was a brutal relationship. And, you know, I just I just needed some guidance, I needed some, some, some men in my life that you know, could really help me understand what the importance it is to be a man. So, you know, the beatings from my father and the rejection from my father left me and my brothers like really cripple inside.
And my pain would eventually lead me to my greatness and my greatness would eventually lead me to my destructive behavior. So I always say one is not well on the inside, eventually it will play out in their life. I think a lot of people look at celebrities lives and think that we should should have it all together because they have everything but they don't really know what the childhood was like and where you actually come from, and what happens to a person. So my father background was really hard. You know, he was the only child, you know, finding out from you know, some of his cousins and stuff. His father was very abusive. And his father was alcoholic. And he saw his father actually beat his mother over and over in front of him. So he kind of repeated the same, same habit that his father had, and I would go on to repeat the same habit, my father had to so learning that it's a generational thing and not until it's broken.
It cannot be fixed. And I realized that, you know, in my life, but I realized that my father had a lot of issues. And it was probably because of what he saw growing up, you know, watching his father, you know, be the man that he was and, you know, all the things he probably experienced in his household.
He brought into his life when he got married and had kids himself. I was brought up in Watch, California, and it was so weird and so different, you know, living in a place like that. It was very challenging.
It was a lot of, you know, a lot of crime, you know. You know, we were kids, but we were most of the time we were in the house at night, but you can hear the gunshots and you can hear all different type of things, you know, that we grew up around and you see all type of things on the streets, you know, during the course of a day growing up as a kid. And, you know, we really never got into a lot of things because we like sports. Me and my brothers, we were always in activities like in the play sports. And then it was the coach that was close by us that saw us, the three Strawberry boys, and he wanted all three of us on the same team. You know, we were all young, you know, and he put us all on the same team and he just thought highly of us. And he just said, I need to raise these boys right because they don't look like they have a father figure in their life. And he raised us right.
You know, been taking us into places that we never thought we could ever imagine be going to play, play ball at ballparks and stuff like that. So I grew up in a very broken, empty neighborhood. And I think that was because my mother always wanted to get out, but my father just didn't want to move forward. And then she finally moved us forward and he moved forward with us, too, when I moved over into the South Central area of Crenshaw High where I went to school and everything.
And from there, you know, after experiencing that time that night, my mother put him out and he was never there anymore. So it was just us and her raising five of us by herself. So it was very challenging for my mom. She was a wonderful woman and she worked very hard to make things work for us. And she kept food on the table for five over. There was an incredible job that she was doing just to take care of five kids by herself.
She was the secretary at Pacific Bell and she worked there for a long time. She had a steady job. My mom was a very bright woman. She's well educated. She spoke well, you know, and she had just such a great peace about herself. And she raised us right.
That's the thing about him. She raised us right. She raises with principles, respect and everything else. And she always made us understand that, you know, better than anybody else.
And those are those are the most important things growing up in our household because we had to respect our household. Because, you know, I thought I was like a really big shot baseball player, little league baseball player, high school, whatever it was. And I would come in the house with that hat on and she was like, you better take that hat off your head before I knock it off. So there were some real things there, you know, and my mother was little and I was big.
I was a big kid. And, you know, and I would like say something on the side of the side of my mouth and she would say, what did you say? And I was like, oh, I didn't say nothing.
She said, come here. And she popped me right in the mouth, you know, so. So that was the teaching of us how to have respect. And you're listening to Darryl Strawberry. And what a story and the pain. Well, he said it led to his greatness, but his eventual decline.
More of this remarkable story, Darryl Strawberry story here on our American stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history from war to innovation, culture and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses.
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That's Goldco dot com slash I heart. Nissan is driving the thrill of its vehicles innovative design into the spotlight in thrilling design, the brand's latest campaign. Nissan dares to design what others won't by approaching each project in a completely different way. They break molds and start each design with a specific customer in mind and how this vehicle will bring a unique sense of thrill to the road. The campaign illustrates how Nissan drives to build an exhilarating experience into each model from initial concept to the last bolt with each design inspired by what moves and thrills you. We get a look into where Nissan draws inspiration for its innovative vehicle lineup and unique models to get a closer look at the thrilling details, features and silhouettes. The Nissan Z, Ariya and Rogue models take center stage to show everyday adventures Nissan vehicles can inspire with appearances by the rugged Pathfinder and bold Altima SR as well.
Nissan is driving the thrill of its vehicles innovative design into the spotlight in thrilling design, the brand's latest campaign. To learn more about the design and innovation at Nissan, visit www.NissanUSA.com And we're back with our American stories and the story of Major League Baseball player, Daryl Strawberry. We last heard Daryl tell the story of how his mom once punched him in the mouth after he talked back to her as a big shot baseball player at Crenshaw High in Southern California. Let's return to Daryl and his story. You know, you think about it, raising five kids, black kids all by yourself, and it's a struggle with no father. But I think we were so broken and depleted from the fact that my father was such a raging alcoholic and the rejection that was so real. It just left it left me and my brother Ronnie real crippled inside. And we we did we we ended up going down some really dark roads, you know, growing up.
And I would say dark roads. I mean, like junior high school, I got kicked out of like four junior high schools because I was troubled inside and, you know, burning up bathrooms. I was smoking marijuana every day. And and then I finally went to high school. They finally like pushed me on through high school and got me out of junior high because I was so, so troubled. And I remember my first year in high school, I got kicked off the baseball team because I was so troubled and inside.
And a lot of people don't even know that I, you know, I became a big star, but I was troubled. And the coach, me and the coach butted heads, you know, because he I walked off the field one day and he thumped me on the head. This is all black high school. And my baseball coach was white and he was incredible. His name was Brooks Hurst. He coached the all black black team.
And, you know, he was he was right about it. I just thought I was a young, hot, you know, phenom out of, you know, out of Rancho Park, you know, league ball and coming into high school and being on the varsity 10th grade. And I kind of walked off the field like like it was no big deal.
And he just thumped me in the head and I took the jersey off right there on the field during the game and I threw it in his face and I quit. And and he was just trying to build character in us to, you know, you know, to be something different. You know, I think, you know, he's coaching all black players.
So you can imagine, you know, what he's got to go through. He's a white coach, you know, in a black all black high school. And he's coaching all these great, talented black players with egos flying everywhere. You know, he's got to maintain whatever he has to maintain to make us understand that we need to hustle.
We need to be players to play the game the right way. And boy, that was that was a lesson that I had to learn right there, really hard not to ever quit again and learn to dig, dig through and fight through situations. And, you know, the coach was the coach was remarkable. You know, after my freshman year, I came back and played my junior year and we sat down and had a talk and I told him I was wrong.
And, you know, I just really needed to learn, grow up and learn about myself. And and he accepted that and allowed me to be back on the team. And then we go on to be this powerhouse baseball team in high school, you know, with myself and Chris Brown, who was our third baseman.
And he got drafted by the Giants and he ended up playing the big leagues with the Giants. And, you know, I played with match and Eric Davis was my friend. He played at Fremont and, you know, we just all just grew up together and, you know, we played in high school. But I just remember how good we were in high school. We went to the city championship. Nineteen seventy nine with Coach Hurst. He brought so much discipline to us and we end up losing the city championship at Dodger Stadium in nineteen seventy nine.
Granada Hills, John Elway beat us in the city championship. And the issues inside of me were stuffed down so far because of being multi-talented. I took my energy in high school to use it for basketball and baseball, sports. You know, because sports is a great outlet to not think, you know, because you can't think when you play sports. You have to either be there or you're not there because I've seen a lot of players that were probably better than me and a lot of great players in our high school.
But their thinking process was just too much and they could never fulfill the promises over their life. And I was just one of those guys that didn't think I just actually went in there and I performed, you know, because I wanted to play. I mean, I was driven because of my father rejection. I think it drove me into greatness because he said I wouldn't be anything. And I was like, I'm going to show you that I'm going to be something. I'm not going to be what you are. And, you know, I have a family one day and I used to talk to myself in the room and watch baseball and says, I'm going to play in the big leagues one day. And, you know, that was that was my driving force, you know, because of the rejection. And it drove me into my it drove me into being who I was and loving the game.
But the issues were always there. You know, we we need that affirmation. We need that approval from a male figure that we it's OK. And a lot of times a lot of a lot of boys don't see their dads around because they're so busy in life. And because that's what life make it is, we live in a society that makes you where you have to be busy, you have to be working and you don't pay enough attention. And this is what I've seen happen in our society because what happened to me, I've seen happen to so many young young kids. I mean, I used to run a treatment facility and and I've seen so many young white suburban kids all addicted to opiates and heroin and all kind of stuff because of rejection. And no one's around your dad's room because the first thing I ask him is, where's your dad?
Well, he's too busy worrying about business instead of worrying about family. And you leave you leave people so broken from that. And we don't understand that it's so real, especially in the times that we're in now and everything that's out here. You know, it's out here at the fingertips of them to be able to get and be exposed to. And you don't realize that, you know, they get exposed to all the wrong things because they search for so hard for that fatherly figure because mom's going to always be there.
Mom's mom's going to take care of the kids. But where is that male figure? You know, but at the same time, girls look for the same thing, too, because I just didn't see boys in there.
I saw the girls in there, you know, broken and been slaves to addiction because they didn't have a male figure in their life. And, you know, people that we don't understand that as a society, we think, you know, it's just about going and doing it. Yeah, we have to do we have to provide.
But also at the same time, we have to make time. I was just me and my wife just spent the last week with my girls here with their boyfriends and just being dad. You know, those things, all those things are important to me. My kids have never been broken because the curse was broken off of me and they were young when I was in the midst of using and playing baseball. So they didn't get to see a lot, but they heard a lot. And people said, well, your dad was a great baseball player, but he has so many struggles. And my daughter would be like, no, my dad's my dad's a preacher.
You know, what are you talking about? You know, they were so they see me as a different person. But I had but I explained to them who I was before I got to this place here. And I explained to them, you never want to, you know, be in a place like this. I told them you could pick your sins, but you can't pick your consequences because they are real.
Great. Pushing things that pushing things down were really hard, you know, because you really don't know who you are. I mean, yeah, I mean, I played baseball and I knew I was a baseball player and I knew I was achieving all these great things. No question about it. But that that really doesn't define who you are.
I think I think that's what you do. And I think I think so many people get that confused. And that's why you see so many guys, whatever celebrities they are, you know, that have problems, you know, have deep problems.
They're a lot deeper than just being successful. And most people think, well, you have everything. Having everything doesn't make you well, you know, and that's what it was for me.
You know, things were stuffed down so far. And the things that were stuffed down in me had to do with my childhood. I had to do it growing up and not having a father around and being rejected. I think that left me more broken and empty more than anything, because, you know, when you think about it, my father didn't see me playing low league. He didn't see me playing league ball.
He only saw me when I was in high school and saw me when he heard about me in high school. So I was left in a place where I was so I was so. So shallow, you know, I mean, I knew I was I knew what to do for us playing, but but as a person, you know, I didn't have, you know, great confidence in myself and and belief in myself because I I was left with all this pain inside.
And I just wanted to be free of it. And a lot of that had to do with, you know, my father, the rejection and being broken for so long. And I did all these great things. You know, I won championships. I hit home runs. I made all-star games, you know, all that. All that was great, you know, from a standpoint of being Darryl Strawberry, the baseball player.
But who am I as the man? You know, and I struggled with that for a very, very long time. My goal was to get to the big leagues as soon as possible and be able to take care of my mother. I think that's because she had taken care of all of us and me being drafted was exciting. It was exciting day when draft day was coming, you know, because I knew I was going to be somewhere in the mix of the draft, because the year before that, four players got drafted off our high school team and all the scouts were asking coach.
Well, what about the left hand? And the coach said, well, he's a junior. He has another year of playing. And they were like, he's a junior. He's like, yeah, he's he's a junior. He's got another year.
There goes wow. And I was playing basketball, too. And Coach Hirsch used to say, well, a lot of scouts didn't want me playing basketball. They said, well, he's the next he's like the next Willie McCubby and the next Ted Williams. And I was like, well, who is Ted Williams?
You know, when we come back, more of Darryl Strawberry's journey here on our American stories. What is circle? First of all, it's a beautiful shape. It's consistent, a community.
It's meant to be inclusive. The globe at Circle, we build USDC, a digital dollar that's actually dollar backed one to one. We're building a future where money will travel at the speed of the Internet for fractions of a penny.
And no one will think about it because it will just be the way we work. Circle is the place where crypto meets stability, where local businesses meet global customers and the US dollar meets USDC. Visit circle dot com slash podcast. Nissan is driving the thrill of its vehicles innovative design into the spotlight in thrilling design. The brand's latest campaign, Nissan dares to design what others won't by approaching each project in a completely different way.
They break molds and start each design with a specific customer in mind and how this vehicle will bring a unique sense of thrill to the road. The campaign illustrates how Nissan drives to build an exhilarating experience into each model from initial concept to the last bolt, with each design inspired by what moves and thrills you. We get a look into where Nissan draws inspiration for its innovative vehicle lineup and unique models to get a closer look at the thrilling details, features and silhouettes. The Nissan Z, Ariya and Rogue models take center stage to show everyday adventures Nissan vehicles can inspire with appearances by the rugged Pathfinder and bold Altima SR as well. Nissan is driving the thrill of its vehicles innovative design into the spotlight in thrilling design, the brand's latest campaign.
To learn more about the design and innovation at Nissan, visit WWW dot Nissan USA dot com. Hey, I don't know about you, but I am so excited for spring. I can't wait for spring break, girls nights out, engagement parties and maybe even a first date, which means I'm going to need some new clothes. Lucky for me, there's Lulus. I love Lulus. Their clothes fit just right and the fabric has that high quality feel that lets you know it's built to last. Best of all, the price is perfect, which means I can afford to have a new outfit for every spring occasion and maybe even an extra cute outfit on hand in case that first day turns into a second or third. From seasonal trends to closet staples, Lulus has stylish, affordable clothing for every moment in your life. And right now you can save even more. Get an account at Lulus dot com and use code Lulus fan 20 to get 20 percent off your first order.
That's Lulus dot com code Lulus fan 20 to save 20 percent. And we're back with our American stories and with Darryl Strawberry story and my goodness, so often on this show, we talk about fatherlessness and the effect on both males and females. And when you heard Darryl say we searched me and my brother so hard for that father figure, where is that male figure? And my goodness, we ask that question a lot and hope to inspire folks by these stories to be better dads.
A lot of our problems will be solved in this country if that happened. Let's return to Darryl Strawberry and by the way, his dog, who will briefly be interjecting some background barks. You know, my coach would come to he would come to my basketball games and he would see me dunking on people. He would see me fall and he was just like cringing and saying, I hope he doesn't break his ankle or hurt himself out there on the basketball court. But I was just a competitive person. And then I go on to be drafted in my senior year by number one draft pick in the country. And there was I wanted to make a decision to play. I had a scholarship to go to Oklahoma State to play basketball and baseball. But I was the number one pick and I was sitting there and I said, I want to play.
I want to go through the professional ranks and see what it's really like as I saw these other guys go through it. And three of them screwed up their first year. And Chris Brown continued to go on and he ended up playing in the big leagues just like myself. My brother Michael was also drafted. He was drafted by the Dodgers later on in his college. He went to college and Southwest College and he ended up being drafted by the Dodgers. I would credit my ability to play to all the coaches that were in my life, man named by Mr. Mosley and a man named Earl Brown.
They were my coaches in summer league ball and they taught me the fundamentals of how to play baseball. And I think it's so, so critical for people to understand the fundamentals of baseball are what's going to make you be able to play at the highest level. I think sometimes people think, well, if I could half do it, you know, I can make it. And a lot of guys never made it because they half did it.
It's those that really stay focused and work hard on them. And I think that's what happened to me. I stayed hard on working on everything that they were teaching me. And I was a good listener. I listened to what the coaches had to say. I didn't think I knew it all because I wanted to get better. They saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. And a lot of times that's really what happens to us as boys. You know, we don't see it in ourself.
We we know it good, but we don't really know how good. And the coaches, you know, one coach, Mr. Mosley, was my baseball coach. And he used to tell me the importance why he would come pick me up every day because he was like, he wanted to talk to me about, you know, how great you could be and what it could be like for you. But he also showed me most of these guys don't make it because of the girls.
You know, they allow the girl to hook them in the nose and take them by the nose and take them away from going to practice and all that stuff. And he didn't want me to ever get into that. And I didn't when I was young like that. You know, I was always on the ball fields and I was always practicing. And he was, you know, he taught me a lot about that. And he told me that there are major distractions out there for you.
And that's what a boy needs to hear. And a lot of guys had talent, but they got distracted because of girls, because of partying, because of this and that. And I didn't get into all that. I didn't get into all that until I got into big leagues. I went to the minors. I went to Kingsport, Tennessee, was my first year. And it was like, oh, my God, I've never been out of Southern California and I ended up in Kingsport, Tennessee, the middle of nowhere. I was like, oh, my God, that was a shock, culture shock to me. I couldn't believe where I was at. And then the next year I went to Lynchburg, Virginia, you know, and it was Lynchburg, Virginia.
And I was like, oh, my God. And I was down deep down in the south. And I didn't really want to play no more. I almost quit that year because I had to go through so many racial issues.
You know, the fans yelling at me and saying things and calling me boys out of my name and calling me N-word and you're not that good. And it was really tough. And I came close to quitting. I told the Mets I didn't really want to play no more baseball.
I want to probably go back to college and probably try to play some basketball. But they said, well, give it one more year. And then I gave it another year. I went to Jackson, Mississippi. And then when I went to Jackson, Mississippi, that's when everything just took place. I became this great baseball player and I just knew I was going to be at another level of playing from that point in Jackson, Mississippi.
So I went on from there and I won the Texas League MVP and I went to Tidewater for one month the next year in 1983. Then I was up in the big leagues right away. You know, I got involved in the heavy drinking once I got into professional sports and got to the major leagues. I became an alcoholic at the age of 21. I knew I was an alcoholic already, just like my father. But then I got introduced to, you know, the cocaine, the hard drugs, you know, at the major league level. And that was really that was really it. That was the defining moment of what would change the course of me inside, because now I had found something that would allow me to escape, you know, the reality of drugs.
People don't think, you know, nothing's wrong with, you know, you know, marijuana. If you're a kid and you grew up smoking marijuana, eventually somewhere down the line, you're going to switch and you're going to you're going to you're going to try something else and something else is going to change you. And that's what it did for me. You know, I got I guess they call you graduate from, you know, the the minor leagues to the big leagues. Welcome to the major leagues. And, you know, my first trip on the major league playing, you know, a veteran player sent me to the back of the plane to welcome to the big leagues kid. There was he introduced me to cocaine and I went back there and I hit it and I liked it. I wanted to be a part. I wanted to be a part of the guys, you know, because there was a missing inside of, you know, being being a part of something, because you didn't have a father figure because he never showed you that kind of, you know, they're there.
There are consequences behind your action, I believe that's what you didn't learn. And so I just picked up all these things, you know, from age of 21, being a big league ballplayer going on to win Rookie of the Year. And, you know, there was already drinking party and they took me to a club one night, you know, the night on the first road trip and showed me the girls. And, you know, I thought, wow, you know, this is this is really cool. This is what it's all about. And little did I know that that would be a devastating part of my life that would bring about a great destruction in my life, because, you know what?
It's all at your fingertips. And, you know, and the thing about it is, you know, when you're there and you become a star like I did, nobody's going to tell me no. It'd be like, yes, you can do whatever you want to, you know, whatever kind of party you want, whatever kind of girls you want. I mean, I have women everywhere. I'm married, you know, just living any kind of way. And, you know, outside relationships, girls here, girls there, you know, and everybody think that's you know, everybody thinks that's great. You know, when they say this is what they do, celebrities life is all about. They love they love that lifestyle. They love it that they can live any kind of way.
Doesn't matter who you have at home and who you hurt. You can do what you want because you're such and such. And this is what this is. What's been created for a long time is still going on, you know, with Hollywood and athletes and everything. It's created the craziness of the craziness of a chaotic life style. And this is why nobody stays married, nobody stays together and everybody's broken up and everybody's broken.
We leave this one because I need the next one. And it's just the most insane way to live. And I think people think, you know, well, I wouldn't do that.
You don't know what you would do if you was in that. It's a hard situation. It's a hard lifestyle to be able to understand when nobody tells, you know, when everybody says, yes, you can do whatever you want. It's sin fun.
Yeah. But it's consequences behind it. You know, and you you want you'll never understand it if you never come to understand God's grace.
Always. That's why I always preach about, you know, if you don't understand the grace of God, then you don't understand God. His grace is something you don't deserve. And he gives it to you. And when you when you come to that place to understand that, that's how you have a real transformation, because I don't deserve to be here.
But he has given me the grace to be here. And my goodness, what a lot to unpack there. And I'm sure you're going to want to hear this story again.
Go to our American stories dot com. Play it for your kids. Play it for family. Play it for boys who don't have fathers, especially and girls who don't have fathers because this will resonate. So much of what he's saying will resonate.
Big baseball star or not, as he put it, sin is fun, but there are consequences. And my goodness, the consequences of having a bad father, a really hideous one, unimaginable. You know, those of us who have good fathers. Well, we're just go home and hug your dad is all I can tell you. Go home and hug your dad when we come back. More of this remarkable story.
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That's Lulus.com code LulusFan20 to save 20%. And we continue with our American stories and with Darrell Strawberry's story. Let's pick up where we last left off. I agree with the fact that there's so much stuff that is set in front of us that keeps us from reaching our purpose with God because there's so many distractions. The enemy has placed so many distractions in front of us from an earthly standpoint where we can't really grasp the goodness of God until we actually have an encounter with him.
And then when we have an encounter with him, then we go, Oh my gosh, I mean, I'm like, Oh my gosh, how did I live so stupid for so long? How did I live in this filthiness for so long after you know who Jesus is, after you know the hanging on the cross of Calvary and the shedding of his blood? And who would want to live like that? You don't want to live like that.
I don't care how successful you are. You don't want to live that way. I mean, I saw Gary Carter and Mookie Wilson who were at the height of their careers playing baseballs, but I saw them live for God when I was playing. And I was wondering, why were these guys so happy? Well, I know that today because they were free on the inside. They wasn't in bondage. They wasn't in chains. They wasn't struggling.
They wasn't straddling the fence. They wasn't hypocrites. They wasn't saying Jesus, but I'm going out going to strip clubs. You know, they they go out to dinner with us and they say, well, I'll see you guys later after, you know, after dinner. I'm going back to the hotel while the rest of us going to strip clubs and going out to drink and meet girls.
These guys are going back to go to sleep and come into the ballpark the next day and never condemned us. But just we're teammates. I thought it was just just incredible that you can actually live that way because, you know, you grow up and you see so much dysfunction in your life and you see your father, you know, be a womanizer and an alcoholic. And and you see other guys are just most the same. You know, the way they treat treat women, you know, then you see guys like this when you get to the big leagues.
Of course, Gary Carter and Mookie live different, you know, but I was around a lot of other players who did the same thing. They, you know, proclaiming, you know, they'll have a great marriage when I'm at home. But when I'm on the road, I'm a totally different person, you know, and and these two guys, you know, didn't do that, you know, and that's what that was was was so unique.
And it was you're attracted to it, you know, because it's something something real about them, something something far greater than them just putting on a uniform and saying, I plan to plan the big leagues. You know, because they didn't because you see because you see the back of the plane when you're on the back of the plane, you see the rest of you guys, all of us that run run to the back or, you know, a bunch of scumbags, you know, in the back. You know, that's what we just call ourselves. And you don't want to come back there because we drink, we smoke cigarettes and we play loud music and and we talk about what we're going to do when we get into town and stuff like that. And then you see guys sitting up in, you know, according to the front, you know, more according to the front, like Mookie and Gary, you see them and you drink, they drink milk and, you know, they drink water. And you think, you know, people think, well, they're just too good, you know, it's like and then, you know, the guys, you know, get on after the guys get on the bus. You know, the guys are hammered all in, you know, the scum bunch is hammered and they yelled at them.
Hey, hey, Gary, you want some milk, you know, and, you know, it's just like you want to smile. And, you know, we didn't realize that we didn't realize the importance of what we were saying. I know now that I was seeing a man. You know, I wasn't seeing a boy like the rest of us because we considered ourselves and we thought, yeah, we're macho man, we drink alcohol and we party. And you see these guys and they take care of their bodies.
They they don't they don't, you know, use their bodies as a slave, you know, to go and be in sin and stuff like that. And I just man, I just wish I wish I would have known better and wish somebody would have helped me to understand why they were living like that. And maybe my whole life could have turned out different, but it turned out the way it did. But I just think about a lot of times in the midst of my career, I wish I would have known God in my career like I do today. And people wonder, how did I get to this place where I'm at today with God? You know, well, God had to sit me for seven years because I was broken for so long. He had to sit me for seven years to equip me so that I would bring about discipline and have some change in my life. So what I did learn not to live anymore for me, I learned to live for God. I learned to live a totally different way. And that's the challenge for anyone who is trying to get on the other side of life.
You know, I just I'm married today, you know, 14 years and we've been together for about 21 years. And when we started when we started on the journey together and when she came into my life, I was I was in the midst of addiction and she was pulling me out of dope houses. You know, I was shooting dope, smoking crack, and I was three million dollars in debt and just wanted to be left out there for dead and die. And I says, well, why don't you she says God has a plan for you. I says, why don't you and that God just leave me here and let me die. And she said, you're just not that lucky. And and then we finally come to a place and we get together and and and get married and start doing it right. And then she finally questioned me.
When are you ever take that uniform off? And I was like, wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks. You know, it's like you see, like you when you go stop, you know, identifying yourself as Darryl Strawberry, the baseball player.
And when you're going to be Darryl Strawberry, the man that God's called you to be. And that really stuck to me. You know, that really hit me hard because, you know, she was right. I was carrying this, you know, this this uniform around and the trophies and the success that I had instead of carrying the mantle and the peace. Peace around me that God gives to us.
And once I let go all that, she was right. I went I entered into this incredible place with God and it was it was such great joy and great peace and a relief, you know, for myself to be this new person and see myself as new. And I see myself as the old, you know, that's the second Corinthians five seventeen.
Therefore, if anyone's in Christ, he's a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.
So I can never get to the new if I'm holding on to the old. So I had to let go of the old to get to the new because God has some new every day for you. And when I started waking up, I started waking up with new things every day and new things to do, new things to worship God and thank God just for the little things.
And which I'm which is important and not not the success, but the little things I'm talking about is just like life, you know, and freedom and not addicted and not a slave to this and not a slave to that. So that was a real defining moment in my life, you know, with my wife, Tracy, you know, taking off that uniform. And I've had some real revelations, you know, with two women in my life. And I say God has a great sense of humor because I was a womanized and I was all around women all the time. And there he would he would use my mother to pray for me when I was a heathen. And we found a journal under her bed when she was dying that she was praying for all of us.
God knock him off his throne and save him. And then she then he brings Tracy in my life. She's pulling me out of the door, pauses, asked me, telling me that, well, you're just not that lucky. Guys, God hadn't let you go yet.
When are you going to take the uniform off and make the change? And and those are those are things that I really take to heart because the fact that my mother would pray for all of us and I end up getting saved and not only did I get saved, I end up leading my entire family to the Lord and I end up leading my father to the Lord before he dies. So I was changed, you know, and God had saved me and I was preaching and traveling and I was in California and he was in a hospital.
My brother told me in San Diego somewhere and I told him why I got to do a conference Saturday morning. And and he was telling me that I didn't God. Friday night, God just came all over me about my father. Just he says, I want you to go down to the hospital and see your father. And he goes, I want you to repent to your father. And he says, don't say anything about what he did to you. I want you to repent for keeping him out of your life and your career. And I was like, really, God?
He was all over me about this. And I know as God when his presence and his poor and then my wife was like, I said, I call my wife to God's all over me. I can't sleep. And I got to preach tomorrow morning. And she said, well, I think you need to you need to do what God is telling you to do. And she prayed over me and then I went to sleep and I did the men's breakfast Saturday morning.
And then Sunday came. I went down to San Diego to see him in the hospital and I did exactly what he says. I said, I came to see you and said, you know, the Lord changed my life. And he says, yes. And I said, I'm I'm here to just ask you to forgive me because I've been I was wrong.
Will you forgive me? And a tear came out his eye and I just lost it. I just laid in his lap and just cried so hard. It was just it was so powerful.
It was just I just laid there and cried and cried and cried and told him, I'm so sorry. And the Lord said, raise up. And then I raised up. And Lord said, now lead him in the center of prayer. And I led him in the center of prayer. I said, would you like to accept the Lord as Lord of your life? And he accepted the Lord and sent a prayer.
He died a couple of months after that. But God, in that moment of time that I was there, God had said, spoke to me about the forgiveness wasn't for him. The forgiveness was for me so I can get well and get free. That's why I never got free. And I remember him saying, don't ever make it about you because it's not about you.
It's about what I want to do through you. And he says, how dare you not forgive him? And I forgave you.
And that was the incredible moment. And, you know, here it is. I go on. I tell people that all the time.
I said, there it is. God used me to go on and leave the man that rejected me and beat me to him. And you've been listening to Daryl Strawberry. And what a story. And thanks, as always, to Greg Hengler for getting us this great story. And by the way, to get much more detail about Daryl Strawberry's life, buy his book, Turn Your Season Around How God Transforms Your Life at Amazon.com or heck, go to a bookstore and buy the book. And by the way, buy two, because this is a great book to give to a friend. This kind of testimony. My goodness, be still my heart.
Daryl Strawberry's life story, a life of redemption, a life of real hope here on Our American Stories. I'm Malcolm Gladwell. I live way out in the country. I drive everywhere.
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