How Darryl Strawberry transcended hubris and outlasted his demons

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ST. PETERS, Mo. — The two-story, four-bedroom house sits on a corner in this planned bedroom community, and when the muscular 6-foot-6 man welcomes you inside, there is no evidence that Darryl Strawberry the baseball player ever existed.

There are no pictures of Strawberry in a Mets uniform. No trophies. No plaques. None of his four World Series rings. Nothing from his eight all-star games. None of his 335 home run balls. …

Darryl Strawberry and wife Tracy today are both ordained ministers.  /  USA TODAY Sports

Darryl Strawberry and wife Tracy today are both ordained ministers. / USA TODAY Sports

Darryl Strawberry the outfielder and slugger from the 1980s and ’90s is no longer. But Darryl Strawberry the ordained minister is very much alive in this town 30 miles west of St. Louis. …

Strawberry, in his first media interview since becoming a preacher and opening his own ministry three years ago, will talk for two hours about his drug and alcohol addiction. He’ll tell chilling details about prison life and crack houses. He’ll tear up describing the pain and shame he caused his family, six children and two ex-wives before marrying Tracy, also an ordained minister, six years ago. …

Strawberry and his wife, each twice-divorced, met 13 years ago at a narcotics center convention in Tampa. Tracy, hooked on cocaine, crack and crystal meth, had been clean for a year and had turned her life to Jesus a week earlier. …

Today, they have their ministry: strawberryministries.org, where the Web site leads with, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think” from Romans 12:2. …

“They have meant everything to this community, particularly me,” says Marcia Funderburk, 58, who says two of her adult children are heroin addicts. “You want to just throw in the towel and give up. It’s been such a nightmare. You’re so beaten down. “But they have given me such inspiration. It’s awesome to see a guy that went so high, and crashed so low, and now he’s pouring his heart and soul back into people.”

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