BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – The West Virginia Miners baseball team received a cautionary, but hopeful and inspirational speech from legendary baseball player Darryl Strawberry.
These days, Darryl Strawberry doesn’t like to be introduced as a legendary baseball player, he now prefers to be introduced as preacher Darryl Strawberry.
During his career, Strawberry struggled with drug addiction, alcohol addiction and other off-field issues that led to numerous suspensions from the league.
But now that he’s turned his life around, he’s spending his post-playing days teaching young athletes about the dangers of getting caught up in his former lifestyle.
“It’s always exciting to play baseball, it’s a fun game, but at the same time it doesn’t last forever,” said Strawberry. “And if you can help them build a relationship outside of baseball, in faith for their life, it’s going to carry them for the rest of their life.”
Strawberry told the team even when he won world championships, even when he hit game-winning home runs, he always felt unfulfilled.
Strawberry also told Miners players the moment he knew he needed to turn his life around, was when he found a prayer his dying mother had written for him.
In the prayer, Strawberry’s mother prayed for her son to have all his baseball success taken away from him. In her eyes, it was the only way he was going to become the man he was meant to be.
“It was really sort of surreal to experience that and see that and realize she was more concerned about my life than my career,” Strawberry told 59News. “I can’t wait to see her on the other side and give her the biggest hug and tell her thank you. And that’s what a mother is there for. To really pray the important prayers over her kids’ life. That their life will turn out to be something more than just what everybody else will see it for.
Strawberry is now 20 years sober and travels the country preaching the lessons he learned the hard way to up-and-coming baseball players. He also threw out the first pitch at Thursday night’s Miners game.