In the mid-1980s, Darryl Strawberry was one of baseball’s elite. He won a World Series ring, he was selected to repeated All Star games, he was a rich man. He was a troubled man. There was a divorce, there were paternity suits, there were rumors of much worse.
Finally, in 1995, he was suspended from baseball because of cocaine. Things got worse from there. There was cancer and more cocaine and jail for soliciting a prostitute. And then more drugs and more arrests and all the while there were those moments when Darryl Strawberry got up and proclaimed he was a changed man, that he had given his life to Jesus, that things were going to be different. It was such a joke that someone made a fairly profane video on YouTube mocking Strawberry and his Jesus talk.
He is still up for new starts. He is now living in Missouri and trying again:
It’s Tracy Boulware, a native Missourian raised in Harvester, who has tried her best to bring light to Strawberry’s dark interiors. The interracial couple was introduced three years ago by mutual friends at a recovery convention in Florida organized by Narcotics Anonymous. At the time she was working as a real estate agent in Boca Raton.
“I didn’t know Darryl Strawberry the baseball player,” she says. “I didn’t know Darryl Strawberry’s tainted past, because I never followed his career. I just remember seeing a really nice guy trying to put his life together.”
It is easy to mock Strawberry and his Jesus talk. After all, what good did it do him? The thing is, choosing to follow Jesus doesn’t make any of us perfect, it doesn’t take away our temptations. Jesus does, however, offer us life and gives us grace… over and over and over. Perhaps Darryl is at peace now. Perhaps there will be no more public stumbles. I pray that is true.
And I pray it is true for me – that I will be more like Jesus.
And I pray it for Michael Vick too and hope he will look at Darryl Strawberry and discover some lessons for his own life.