Mental Health Awareness Month Spotlight: Former MLB Legend & Minister, Darryl Strawberry

May 21, 2022 | 2022 Articles, Mental Health, Sports, Steven Sanchez

by Steven Sanchez

Former Major League Baseball legend and World Series champion of the New York Mets and New York Yankees, Darryl Strawberry, has a new position he plays now and that’s being an ordained minister. He came to CrossCity Church in Fresno on April 23 and 24 to do a service for those in attendance with the message of how God turned his mess into a message.

As much as he collected awards, champions, and statistics during his illustrious career, he also collected a series of bad habits along with tragic statistics like arrests, addiction, prison sentences, rehab stays, and health scares. He is known for his athletic achievements during his playing days but has received the same amount of notoriety for his drug use, courting women while playing games.

When he was at his lowest, he turned to God to find his purpose and his wife Tracy, who is a mentor and author, and they’ve taken their relationship and also turned it into a partnership to heal others and recover and give sermons all across the country expressing the power of faith and having the spirit to overcome adversity. He has two rehab treatment centers with his name on them.

Darryl Strawberry

These are the very things he preached about in his sermons. He talked about the power of redemption and there is no wrong path when you let your faith guide you. This being Mental Health Awareness Month, Kings River Life would like to spotlight this man who put his own health on the line for thrill-seeking, but through faith and recovery was able to become the man he was capable of becoming. Through that, he hopes to bring that knowledge to those that need it during these trying times. We conducted a short interview with Darryl after his service discussing that even though there are multiple options to help with mental health recovery, that belief in a higher power and faith can be a strong option in order to go down the path of righteousness and healing.

KRL: For those that are struggling, and no matter what, if they’re faith isn’t doing enough, what do you encourage others to do to keep going when sometimes faith isn’t enough?

Darryl: The most important thing is you got to keep showing up. There’s going to be trials, tribulations, and struggles, and what people don’t recognize is we can’t escape that. It’s something we’re all going to have to face no matter what. For those that have faith you have to keep coming to church, and eventually one day God drops it off you. People don’t stick with it long enough, they just run away. Don’t run from God, run to God.

KRL: Professional athletics and music and movie industry are tempting professions. Do you encourage those that follow you to avoid such professions or do you believe faith can be strong and has a place in professions where they’re notorious for their temptations?

Darryl: People have to go through things in order improve themselves. We all have to overcome temptations in life. Jesus was tempted just like the rest of us, and he stood his ground, and he gives us the ability to stand on ours when we have a relationship with him. The more we separate from him the more you’ll give into temptations.

KRL: Now, sports has services for mental health and just overall health in general. If you had that back then, do you feel your journey would’ve been different?

Darryl: No, my journey turned out the way it was supposed to. I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I’m in ministry, and I was involved in baseball during the time I played and what it did for me, but this is the most important part. The impact I make is more important to me than anything. For me, a baseball game won’t mean anything when your life is over.

Steven and Darryl

KRL: We’ve had a rough few years, but from your eyes, how did we get to where we are as a society and what can we do to get ourselves out and make the world better?

Darryl: We are where we are at now because we haven’t obeyed God. There’s a nation of people who haven’t, and have lived according to how they want to live and these are the consequences. You can choose your sins, but you can’t pick your consequences so choose wisely.

KRL: When it comes to anything, in your case baseball, when someone gets into the Hall of Fame, for them that’s their pinnacle. They’re complete. It’s the culmination. When it comes to ministry, what’s the pinnacle for you? When do you have that moment or that accomplishment where it’s like you’ve done all that you could, you have something to show for it, and you can say that your work is done?

Darryl: Never. This is the accomplishment, what I’m doing right now is eternal. Baseball and the Hall of Fame isn’t eternal. My relationship with Christ, me helping people, that’s eternal. People have to open The Bible to see for themselves that eternal life does exist, and your relationship with God and helping others, that’s eternal, it lasts forever.

Steven Sanchez is a film graduate of UNLV. He’s a filmmaker, writer, photographer, and music manager. Obsessed with movies, comic books, and rock ‘n’ roll. A football fanatic, big fan of the Oakland Raiders. Enjoys reading and collecting vinyl records. If there’s a rock show in town more than likely he’ll be there. Loves his grandma’s home cooked meals. He has a twin sister and most people call him the pretty one. You can learn more about Steven on his YouTube channel and on Instagram @stevensanchez5807 photos and videos.

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