Each year since 1989, The Gathering has sponsored evangelistic outreach events for men in Palm Beach County. The Gathering has been blessed with average attendance of 550 per breakfast and many lives have been impacted and relationships begun and nurtured with Jesus. On May 12 at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach and on May 13 at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton, former Major League Baseball four-time World Series Champion, Darryl Strawberry, will be the featured speaker for The Gathering breakfast series.
I had a chance to interview Darryl Strawberry and his wife, Tracy, for a recent talk show I hosted on 850am radio to hear the transformation God has made in their lives that Darryl will share at The Gathering breakfast series.
“It’s not about you; it’s what God wants to do through you,” explained Darryl Strawberry.
Strawberry had an illustrious baseball career. He played in the major leagues for seventeen seasons, winning four World Series titles and being named as an all-star eight times with the New York Mets and New York Yankees. He was inducted into the NY Mets Hall of Fame in 2010.
He grew up in an abusive household with a father that was an alcoholic that would come home drunk and beat his mother, him and his siblings. Yet Strawberry fought his way out, finding baseball and went on to become a number one draft pick by the New York Mets. Drafted right out of high school, he became the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year.
“If I really would have known how great I was as a player, I would have took better care of myself,” he admits. “I would have got more rest; I would have went to bed at night. I mean, I hung out late nights and had to play the next day and hit homeruns.”
At his lowest, Strawberry said that off the field, he became a junkie, hung out in crack houses, served jail time and, at one point, wanted to die.
“I was very sick… my drinking and my drugging and my amphetamines that I was taking… I was embedded in sickness for a very long time,” he said.
All the stuff but no peace or joy
“I had several moments of sitting around in my million-dollar homes and by the pools and stuff, and looking and saying, ‘What does this all mean?’” said Strawberry. “I have a bunch of stuff — got the homes, got the cars — but [I] have no peace, have no joy.”
Strawberry’s path to wellness would begin with sobriety. He attended several different rehab programs but continued to relapse and struggle with his addictions.
“I just wasn’t ready. I was in denial,” he said.
Not long after his career ended, Strawberry’s life spun out of control. He was addicted to drugs, battled cancer twice and found himself in trouble with the law. Then, about ten years ago, Strawberry turned his life around with the help of God and his then-girlfriend, now wife, Tracy.
Surrendering life to God transforms
“I got on this path of my life and really surrendered my life to God, and [started] living a real life away from all that stuff. It transformed my whole life,” Strawberry said. “It made me the person that I am today.”
Surrendering his life to Christ and becoming ordained Pastors, Darryl & Tracy Strawberry are driven to see the multitudes saved and set free through the grace and power of Jesus Christ. They lived defeated lives, were separated from God, for many years. Addictions, abuse, divorces, cancer, jail-time and other issues are just a few things that plagued their lives. In 2003, they had lost it all. But God’s plan was not to be undone.
Over the past decade, Strawberry and his wife, Tracy, have gone to extraordinary lengths to make the world a better place to live in. Their foundations, including the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, Fight for Autism and Strawberry Ministries, famously advocate action for Autism, youth and community outreach, Christian healing, and support for those dependent upon alcohol and illicit substances.
Spreading the Good News and power of God
Rising above years of self-destructive behaviors, including drug addiction, Strawberry has become an everyday hero spreading hope and a message of spiritual fitness and conditioning throughout the United States and in the sports world. Darryl and Tracy have a successful ministry, which offers hope to those who are desperate and seeking a path to recovery.
Darryl and Tracy found true redemption and restoration in Jesus Christ. Today, they share their story as a powerful illustration of the true power of God and His redeeming love. They are on a mission to lead people to Jesus Christ, and to restore lives and relationships through the power of God and the process of change.
In 2014, Darryl co-founded the Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in Orlando. Battling alcohol, cocaine and pills during the latter years of his illustrious baseball career and years after, Darryl feels called to give back and help bring his faith and experiences to patients that come for help at their Recovery Center.
Along with operating their ministry, foundation and Recovery Center, the Strawberrys are currently speaking to groups nationwide while promoting their new book, The Imperfect Marriage: Help for Those Who Think it’s Over.
For more information on The Gathering breakfast and to purchase tickets, visit www.gatheringpb.com.
Carl Foster is a 40 year veteran radio/television broadcaster and sportswriter including spending seven years with American Forces Radio in Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, Spain, Germany and Greece. He is the founder of The Good Sports Magazine Radio/TV Series preparing for a fall launch of its 10th season.