By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – Darryl Strawberry is living a different life. Made famous by his home run swing and a career derailed by drug addiction, the eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star is now on the Christian speaking circuit, sharing his life-changing story.
Strawberry spoke to a large and attentive crowd at Oakland Baptist Church on Thursday night in Corinth.
It was hardly Strawberry’s first time in Mississippi. The former No. 1 overall draft pick spent 1982 in Jackson, with the Double-A Jackson Mets at Smith -Wills Stadium, last year’s home of the Mississippi High School Activities Association state baseball championships. Strawberry won Texas League MVP and still speaks highly of owner Con Maloney, now of Cowboy Maloney’s fame.
“That was a great year. He was awesome, man. And just the fans, it was a remarkable time. The greatest time I had in the minor leagues is when I played in Jackson,” Strawberry said. “And it took me to a whole other level of playing.”
Strawberry hit .283 that season, with 34 tape-measure home runs and 97 RBIs, 19 doubles, nine triples and 45 stolen bases.
Strawberry finished an on-again, off-again, 17-year MLB career with a .259 average, 335 home runs and 1,000 RBIs.
Thursday, he took photos and signed baseball cards, balls, photos and anything brought to him after the service, a sermon-type speech that never mentioned the New York Mets or New York Yankees, the two most famous of the four MLB teams he played for.
baseball still resonates
Strawberry may be somewhat separated from baseball, but not completely. It’s tough to totally leave a game that granted him four World Series rings – one with the Mets and three with the Yankees.
“I don’t talk about it a whole lot. I talk about it from time to time,” Strawberry said. “My primary purpose is to tell people the good news. I can’t get them saved talking about baseball, but I can get them saved talking about Jesus.”