High School Star
The Mets selected Darryl Strawberry with the first overall pick of the 1980 free-agent draft. The 18-year-old Strawberry was highly regarded as a talented outfielder/pitcher for Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles.
Mets Top Pick
Strawberry quickly moved through the Mets minor league system, spending less than three seasons there before arriving in the big leagues in 1982.
Darryl Strawberry was the Mets most exciting player during his eight seasons in New York. He totaled 252 home runs and 733 RBI, both of which are still team records.
There were some tough moments in New York. During the Mets annual spring training photo shoot in 1989, Darryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez got in a fight in full view of members of the media. Teammates had to restrain both players.
The lure of playing in front of family and friends in his hometown, plus a $20.3 million contract, factored into Strawberry's decision to leave the Mets for the Dodgers following the 1990 season. But the marriage between Strawberry and the Dodgers was not pretty. He only played for parts of three seasons in L.A., thanks to problems with his family, injuries, drugs, alcohol and the IRS.
Giant For a Minute
Darryl Strawberry's first return to baseball was with the San Francisco Giants in 1994. Although Strawberry's play sparked the Giants, he tested positive for cocaine in February of 1995. He was suspended for 60 days, and the Giants released him.
It wasn't long before Strawberry caught the eye of George Steinbrenner. On June 19, 1995, the Yankees signed Strawberry, who was in the middle of serving a six-month home confinement sentence on tax evasion charges. Strawberry was allowed to leave home for practices and home and away games. He played for Triple-A Columbus until the Yankees called him up on August 4.
Darryl the Saint
After the 1995 season, the Yankees declined to pick up the option that would have brought Strawberry back for the following year. No other teams expressed interest, so Strawberry signed with the St. Paul Saints, an independent team in the Northern League.
Two months later, Strawberry was given another chance by the Yankees. In the process, he was reunited with Dwight Gooden. They were the toast of New York in the mid-80s, but both had experienced their share of troubles before coming to the Yankees.
Back on Top
Much like 10 years earlier with the Mets, Darryl Strawberry celebrates a World Series win. In 1996, the Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves four games to two.
Straw "Feels Great"
On Oct. 1, 1998, Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery to remove a 16-inch portion of his large intestine to get rid of a tumor, but six days later doctors announced the the cancer spread to a lymph node. One week later Strawberry was released from the hospital and tells reporters he "feels great."
In the months after learning about his colon cancer, Strawberry had more surgery, settled a lawsuit with attorney Robert Shapiro, debuts as spokesman for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and then two months later is charged with possession of cocaine and soliciting a prostitute. Here on May 26, 1999, he enters a no-contest plea and is sentenced to 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service. Major League Baseball suspends him for 120 days.
Return to the Bronx
Strawberry returned to the Yankees in September, and hit .333 with two homers and four RBI in the postseason as the Yankees win their second straight title.
At the 1999 Yankees World Series parade, Darryl Strawberry is comforted by manager Joe Torre after giving a heart-felt speech about being given another chance.
In February of 2000, three months after giving that heart-felt speech, Strawberry tests positive for cocaine and is suspended from baseball for one year. In July, Strawberry reveals that his cancer has returned. He underwent surgery to remove it in early August. In September he is arrested for hitting a street sign and failing a sobriety test. He was then sentenced to two years house arrest.
Darryl Strawberry listens to attorneys during a probation violation hearing on Nov. 3, 2000, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa. One week earlier Strawberry tested positive for cocaine while on probation. He later told the judge he lost the will to live, but chose not kill himself because of his five children.
Jailed Yet Again
Darryl Strawberry was arrested on his 40th birthday, March 12, 2002, for misconduct at a drug treatment center.
18-month Jail Sentence
Assistant State Attorney Darrell Dirks, left, talks to Judge Ralph Steinberg as former New York Yankees outfielder Darryl Strawberry, right, and his attorney Darryl Rouson look on Monday morning, April 29, 2002, at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in Tampa, Fla. Strawberry was sentenced to 18-months in prison for violating his probation.
View complete Darryl Strawberry Biography and Career Highlights.
Photos and copy provided by Newsday, 2002.