Darryl Strawberry: From the Diamond to the Pulpit (Part 2)

John FarrellBy John Farrell13 Minutes

John Farrell: Are there any other lessons you learned from your time on the baseball diamond or by just being around the game of baseball that helped better prepare you for who you are today and the ministry you have today?

Darryl Strawberry: That’s a great question. Nobody’s asked me that question. But yes, the discipline that I learned to train myself in baseball to become great was the same discipline I had to learn to train myself with the Word of God and spend time with God to make me the man I am today.

I think a lot of people don’t understand that they never use the gift that they have. I saw that, and I remember God speaking to me. He said, “The way you went after baseball, training yourself and disciplining yourself, you have to do the same thing when you spend time in the Word.”

It crossed over into my life because I was very disciplined in my training and working out. I had good habits of doing that to prepare myself for the season during the offseason, and I had to do the same thing when I started doing that with God. I started spending quality time, quiet time away from everybody. No cell phone, no television, no conversations with people, just me alone connecting. The discipline that I got in that has allowed me to grow into the man I am.

Putting on a baseball uniform made me a baseball player, but it did not make me a man. I didn’t become a man until I disciplined myself in the Word of God and disciplined myself to know who Jesus is in my life. That’s what really made me a man. I can say it did help shape me a lot from my playing days of who I was and to create me as the man that God wanted me to be. God was never concerned about my baseball career. He was concerned about my soul and my salvation.

Finding God at a Morris Cerullo Crusade

JF: How did you come to faith? What is your testimony or that turning point in your life where you realized, “I have to turn this around?” Or was it meeting your wife?

Darryl: I accepted Christ in 1991 when I signed a $20 million contract to go play in LA. I was broken and going through a divorce. I was an alcoholic, womanizer, drug addict, and I went to a crusade in Anaheim, California.

I will never forget it. My first wife’s uncle, Uncle Bill, took me to the crusade. It was a Morris Cerullo crusade. I went to that and heard the gospel for four nights, and all I did was weep. For four days I was there. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and on Sunday, he said, “Whoever is here that needs experience with the Lord, you can come down on your own. It’s up to you.”

I was one of those people who lined up. There was a bunch of people. I came down and he laid hands on me, and the power of God came over me and some guy picked me up and said, “I don’t know who you are, but the Lord has called you.” I said, “Oh my God, you sound just like my mother.” That’s what my mother had told me, “The Lord has called me.”

I accepted Christ that day in 1991, but I didn’t have a foundation. I didn’t get discipled. Discipleship was so important.

I ran into the wall and dislocated my shoulder on the plate. I had never been hurt like that. I’ve been hurt a couple of times, but at the beginning of the season in LA I had to sit out close to most of the first half of the season, and I didn’t have a foundation in Christ.

I went back and started drinking and womanizing. All these things. All these attacks came against me, and I just turned back. If you don’t have a foundation, you usually go back to the familiar and that’s what was important in my life. I didn’t get the foundation and the discipleship when I accepted Christ, and I went out for another how many years—fifteen years—lost and broken.

Then God, at the broken part of my life, brought Tracy into my life because she was in recovery. She had one year of recovery and I was coming back smoking crack and using dope.

I went to a convention in South Florida, and I met her. We started having a conversation. Everybody was hovering over me for pictures and everything. She thought it was sickening that all these people were hovering over me for pictures and autographs and here I was this guy who was sick and needed help. She was like, “I’m not dealing with that.”

We just started having a conversation. We started dating and going out. I told her not to get involved with me because I would take her through it. And I took her through it too, but she kept chasing me down and pulling me out of dope houses in South Florida, banging on doors and pulling me out of dope houses. She’d say, “God has a plan for you.” And I’d say, “Why don’t you and that God just leave me here and let me die?” She’d reply, “You’re just not that lucky.” She used to yell at me and tell me that.

God used her, and she came into my life. We started on a journey together with nothing. Everybody’s looking at the good of our lives today, but we started with nothing. I was $3 million in debt and didn’t have a driver’s license. She took me in, and we came together. She said, “You’re going to have to grow up. You’re going to have to be responsible and you’re going to have to do it God’s way.” She taught me how to do it God’s way. I got in line with God, but it took a while.

She was on her journey with God. I was on my journey with God back in California. We came back together and got married and we started with nothing. We allowed God to build us from the ground up. Everybody thought we had all this stuff. We didn’t have anything when I started but God built us up because I learned to trust God and obey Him and follow His principles.

God’s Story and Darryl’s Transformation

JF: Turning back to your faith and your book, what did you learn about yourself from writing Turn Your Season Around?

Darryl: From writing this book I learned that this would probably be the best book I’ve ever written, and it will be a true book because it had to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. It didn’t have anything to do with me.

I think a lot of times people write books and it’s a story about them, but I’m not here to brand me. Jesus is the greatest brand I ever met in my life and that’s what this book is really about. When people read it, they go through it and go, “Wow, this book is very heavy and it’s a lot about Christ and a lot about what the Lord will do in a life.” That’s what I wanted the book to be about.

I didn’t want it to be about Darryl Strawberry because everybody knows me and what I’ve done. I played baseball in the major leagues for 17 years and had deep struggles and issues with drugs and trouble with the law and different things.

How did his life become the life like this of Turn Your Season Around? They don’t read the other part. It’s how God transformed my life. Not how I transformed my life. It’s how God will transform a person’s life if he obeys God, if he follows the commandments and the principle and starts living according to them. That means when someone picks up this book, they realize that I stopped everything. I dropped everything. I came out from all those worldly things.

I’m not a baseball player anymore. I’m not concerned about baseball. I’m not concerned about who wins, and I think people realize that today. They say he’s never around baseball. He doesn’t talk about himself. He talks about the transformation of Christ, not only in his book, but when he stands on the platform to preach.

It’s incredible that God has given me a gift to preach the gospel and I’m not even qualified to preach the gospel. But I remember when God called me 13 years ago. I said, “You got the wrong guy.” He goes, “No, I got the right guy. You’re going to preach the gospel. The Holy Spirit is going to descend upon you, and you’re going to saturate yourself with Him and He’s going to teach you the Bible.” And He did supernaturally. And there it is, I’m preaching the gospel in front of thousands of people.

It’s incredible what God will do with a life, and people don’t understand the importance of who He is. That’s what this book is about—who Christ is and what He does in our life.

Order your copy of Turn Your Season Around: How God Transforms Your Life by Darryl Strawberry

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