There was no mention of the Mets or Yankees.
Former Major League Baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry shared his experiences of being a member of God’s team with over 500 at Oakland Baptist Church on Thursday.
Strawberry, who played with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and New York Yankees over a 17-year career, was in town as part of the Living Free Ministries Celebration Banquet.
“Lives are being lost today because people haven’t given in to the power of the cross,” said the 1983 National League Rookie of the Year. “Jesus is a bad dude … no one loves you like He does.”
Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in the 1980s and 1990s. His 6-6 frame struck fear in pitchers during that time as he was part of four World Series winning clubs in 1986, 1996, 1998 and 1999.
He also lived a life of drug and alcohol abuse, eventually serving an 11-month prison sentence in 2002.
“I had issues, if you don’t believe it, just Google me,” he said. “I had millions of dollars and fine cars, but none of that made me well … only the blood of Jesus can bring you to a better place.”
The better place today for the outfielder, who hit 335 home runs and drove in 1,000 runs during his career, is serving Jesus by speaking a message of hope and helping others transform their lives through the power of the gospel. He and wife, Tracy, travel around the country delivering the message of hope through their Strawberry Ministries.
“I have victory today because I repented to God and he forgave me,” said the eight-time all-star. “The world didn’t love me, but Jesus did … He was always there even when I wasn’t right.”
Living Free founder Tommy Wilson heard Strawberry at the House of Grace Homecoming earlier this year.
“God changed his life,” said Wilson. “Darryl has a heart for serving Him.”
Strawberry encouraged those in attendance to spend time reading God’s word.
“This is the truth,” he said while holding up a bible. “It’s the greatest book you will ever read … it will set you free.”
He pointed out mistakes are part of life and everyone has issues of some sort.
“We all make mistakes and God cleans us up,” said the former New York slugger. “A lot of times we don’t understand why we have to go through what we do, but what you do isn’t who you are.”
Jesus is the answer, according to the ordained minister.
“He has a plan for everyone and it doesn’t matter what you have been through,” he said. “Jesus is the only savior and He will never leave you or forsake you … just hang on.”
Wilson said Strawberry’s message goes along with what Living Free is all about.
“The biggest thing we do is share hope through through Jesus,” said Wilson. “We teach takers to become givers.”
Published May 11, 2013 by Steve Beavers for the Daily Corinthian