Darryl Strawberry knows what it means to hit rock bottom.
Although the former professional baseball player’s résumé says otherwise — eight All-Star appearances, four World Series championships and the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year Award — Strawberry’s life has been marred by struggles with controlled substances and legal issues. Those problems cost Stawberry his career and reputation.
After being in and out of drug treatment facilities for years following 17 seasons in the MLB, Strawberry met his wife Tracy and became a born-again Christian.
Strawberry now travels around the country sharing his testimony.
He talks about how his faith changed his life after being suspended by MLB for substance abuse three times throughout his career, the last instance being a one-year ban from the league in 2000. That final punishment came shortly after Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1998, an ailment that eventually forced him to have 24 inches of his colon removed to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Scotland County is next in line to hear Strawberry’s message about determination, strength and resiliency — and the region needs to hear that testimony now more than ever.
Strawberry will appear at Pate Stadium on Tuesday night as part of the “Fields of Faith” service hosted by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Strawberry, along with several students, will give testimony at the event, which begins at 6:45 p.m. and is free to attend.
When the former New York Met, Los Angeles Dodger, San Francisco Giant and New York Yankee takes the stage on Tuesday night, he will be speaking to a community that is beginning to recover from its second devastating hurricane in just under two years.
Families all over the region felt the effects of Hurricane Florence. Some lost everything for the second time since Hurricane Matthew dealt a blow to eastern North Carolina in October 2016.
It may not be similar to the type of rock bottom Strawberry experienced years ago, but it comes with a desire to recover and regain some sense of normalcy.
Strawberry’s recovery process included becoming an ordained minister and founding the Darryl Strawberry Foundation to help raise money for autism research.
Strawberry knows what it takes to power through adversity. He has a chance to share that experience on Tuesday as he delivers what could be one of the most powerful messages of his career.
Brandon Tester can be reached at [email protected] or 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.