BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — At one time Darryl Strawberry was considered one of the most electric names in baseball. He was drafted first overall by the New York Mets in 1980 and quickly made a name for himself.
“It is a major roller coaster getting into the major leagues because you don’t know if you are going to make it there, you don’t know if you are going to be successful there,” said Strawberry.
Strawberry helped both the Mets and the New York Yankees win the World Series. While he earned numerous accolades during his 17 year career, he also constantly fought drug addiction and alcohol abuse. A battle which would ultimately end his career.
“Through my drug addiction, it cost me to end up in a Florida state prison. So the reality of it is, if you aren’t well on the inside, it does not matter what you look like on the outside,” said Strawberry.
West Virginia is number one in the country in terms of opioid abuse and drug related deaths according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Strawberry said he saw an opportunity to use his life and stories to benefit others, and help those fighting addiction. This idea would bring him to Raleigh County.
“I think that’s why coming here is so important to me, West Virginia, because I have always wanted to get to the state of West Virginia because of addiction. I’m in recovery, I saw the brokenness of people and the overdose,” said Strawberry.
He used to step up to the plate, and now he steps up on stage to help people like himself who are fighting addiction. Strawberry now travels around the country through his program, Finding Your Way. He hopes in hearing his story, people and young athletes, especially, have the tools to not make the mistakes he did. He hopes to help bring a sense of comfort and a time filled with uncertainty.
“And you really just want to encourage them that their faith is more important than the times we are in,” said Strawberry.
Strawberry spoke at the I Am Ingathering hosted by Destiny Ministries in Beckley. It is a two-day event that helps free people from addiction.