Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry: From the Diamond to the Pulpit (Part 1)

John FarrellBy John Farrell12 Minutes

John Farrell: What was the inspiration behind writing Turn Your Season Around: How God Transforms Your Life?

Darryl Strawberry: My wife. She’s the inspiration behind everything that I do because she’s a big part of my life. She was a big part of the turnaround in my life, and she was the one that God used to lead me back to the Lord a little more than twenty years ago. She kept saying, “Why don’t you write another book because you’ve written a book before – your autobiography – and it was a New York Times Best Seller, and that’s where you left people. You never gave them the real transformation of what Christ has done in your life.”

I really didn’t want to write another book because I’ve been there and done that. I’m not one of these people that need to write books and say, “Look at me.”

But I decided to go ahead and do it, and here we are. It’s a book about turning your season around, which I thought was really important when I came up with the title because I realized that we’re always going to have to turn our season around. I didn’t know there was going to be a pandemic when I started writing the book, but I knew I already had the title, and it just came together during the midst of the struggle of the pandemic and the nation in an uproar over racial issues and everything.

I realized that we’re going to all have to turn our season around, and how do we turn our season around? I know for me, I had to turn my season around through basic steps – biblical principles and learning how to obey God and how to walk with God. I think that’s a really critical point for people to be able to understand that that’s why I wrote a book like this.

I use a lot of things in it that have parallels with baseball, like nine innings. Then we’ll talk about different things that really can help people understand that God is a loving and merciful God, and He waits for us.

People always ask me, “How did you find Jesus?” I say, “Jesus has never been lost. We’re lost people.”

God’s Transformative Power

JF: Would you say that’s the overall message of the book?

Darryl: I think the overall message is to help people understand how God transforms a life step-by-step. I think a lot of people want the overnight miracles. You know what happened to me. A lot of people have seen me travel the nation and become a different person. All the players and people in the media that I’ve known from sports look at me now and wonder what happened.

I tried to give them in this book a step-by-step of what has to take place in one’s life. I think a lot of times we make it look good on the outside because we think we’ve been successful. We have a lot of things, but on the inside a lot of people’s houses are on fire, and they never talk about that. I talk about the fire of my house burning up. I talk about Christ coming into my life and putting the fire out and bringing me to this greater place and greater understanding with wisdom and knowledge more than anything.

JF: In your book, you discuss several of the principles that transformed your life from the inside out. What are some of the most important principles you’ve discovered?

Darryl: I think the principles helped me reveal my old self more than anything. I think there’s a lot of people who don’t know the real principles of what we used to be and how they reveal wounds, those broken pieces of who we are, and how they show people the other principles that God heals you with.

A lot of times we are afraid to talk about what happens to us and the things that we go through, but in this book, we show people. There were a lot of things that happened to me. There were a lot of wrong principles that I was living in, and then I got into these real principles, which transformed my life. I think that’s what’s really important because a lot of us live by our own principles.

When I was a successful Major League Baseball player, I was living by my own principles. Nobody could tell me what to do. I always tell people that you can pick your sins, but you can’t pick your consequences. And there’s a lot of consequences that come from living by your own principles.

JF: Of all the advice you provide in the book, which one do you find personally is the most important? And on the flip side, which piece of advice do you think most people struggle with?

Darryl: I think the most important one is probably the “Fifth Inning” where it talks about releasing God’s grace. That’s the chapter where I had to really see grace through my father because grace was given to me. I struggled with that for many years and not giving him grace when God had given me grace. I went to the hospital to see him and ask him to forgive me because God sent me there and said, “How dare you not forgive him when I forgave you and gave you grace.”

I had to give my father the same grace that was given to me, and I ended up leading him to the Lord. That was a powerful point about what life is really all about. I think a lot of times we don’t understand that part of grace.

What is grace? Grace is something that God gives us that we don’t deserve, but He gives it to us anyway. And now He taught me how to give it to my father. He would use me at the same time by giving him the grace that was given to me. He would use me to lead him in the Sinner’s Prayer before he passed away. And six months later, he passed away and went home to be with the Lord.

I remember God telling me in that process, “It’s never about you. The grace that you gave him and the forgiveness that you gave him was not for him.” It was actually for me. That’s why I stayed broken for all those years. I wouldn’t forgive.

Faith and Baseball

JF: In one chapter you talk about your former teammate Gary Carter’s faith. Throughout the book, you include other stories and anecdotes from your baseball days. What role did baseball play in either keeping you rooted in faith or steering you away from faith and toward all those worldly indulgences?

Darryl: I think baseball gave me a platform to be the man I am today. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a platform of wickedness and wildness, and to be whatever you want.

It was a game. I was very talented. I was able to play and perform at the highest level and achieve all these great things, but at the same time, it was a big distraction from what comes with it. People would ask, “What comes with it?” Sin comes with it. It’s a sinful lifestyle. Most guys are in the lifestyle of doing whatever they want however they want.

I was able to see Gary Carter, who was a Christian man of faith. He was able to look different in that lifestyle. And you rarely see that. You hear players talk about God, but do you see players actually live it? We saw him live it. That was the most incredible part for me. That was the witness that really got to me.

I realized I wanted what he had, but I didn’t have the guts to ask him what made him so happy, made him live such a real and complete life, and have great character and things like that?

Baseball opened the doors for so many other opportunities of stuff. That’s all you do. You accumulate a bunch of stuff. You accumulate things. You accumulate a fortune. You accumulate people around you. And at the end of the day, you’re still broken on the inside because you’re not going to have all this money.

Why am I still broken? Because the God piece on the inside is missing. It doesn’t fill us on the inside, but we try to fill it with all these different things. You buy another car; you buy another house. A house is a house, a car is a car after a while. Then you realize that on the inside you might need something more than what you’re chasing after. And that’s what baseball allowed me to do – just have more stuff. It never allowed me to be free.

I was free when I was playing the game because I was happy playing the game. But as a person, I was broken and empty on the inside.

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