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Straw: Finding My Way

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Overview

Former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry, whose achievements on the field were often overshadowed by his struggles off the field, recounts the highs, the lows, and the lessons of hope and survival he learned along the way.

The youngest son of Henry and Ruby Strawberry, Darryl grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles, where he channeled his energy into baseball and basketball. The New York Mets drafted him in 1980, and he won the National League Rookie of the Year ...

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Overview

Former baseball slugger Darryl Strawberry, whose achievements on the field were often overshadowed by his struggles off the field, recounts the highs, the lows, and the lessons of hope and survival he learned along the way.

The youngest son of Henry and Ruby Strawberry, Darryl grew up in a working-class neighborhood in Los Angeles, where he channeled his energy into baseball and basketball. The New York Mets drafted him in 1980, and he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award in 1983. Strawberry became the first National League player voted to the All-Star Game in each of his first four full seasons.

Throughout the eighties and nineties, however, Strawberry faced many personal challenges, including drug use, tax evasion, solicitation, and allegations of domestic violence. His seasons with the Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees were interrupted by suspensions, visits to rehab, and treatment for colon cancer. But in 2006, Strawberry's life changed course dramatically. With his wife, Tracy, he devoted himself to his church and to his work with children and adults affected by autism and other developmental disorders.

For the first time, in his own words, Darryl Strawberry delivers his inspirational narrative—the extraordinary story of his life.

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Editorial Reviews

Bruce Handy
Straw [has] the virtue of sincerity and of seeming profoundly felt. Its narrator emerges as a real and complex man: humble in the face of his failures, palpably hungry for redemption, and yet still capable of myopia and self-righteousness. You feel for him in a way you never did—at least I never did—when you were merely cheering and/or booing him at Shea.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball, a perennial All-Star who was dubbed "The Black Ted Williams." Sadly, his effortless production on the field belied his troubles off it. Growing up in South Central L.A. with an abusive, negligent father left Strawberry unsure on "how to become a man," and playing pro baseball provided the foundation and means to become an alcohol and drug addict. Thanks to Strawberry's hard-living lifestyle, his attempts at domestic stability are colossal failures, and his halfhearted attempts at rehab lead to jail time and a damaged reputation. At his lowest point, Strawberry turns to God, leading him to redemption. The sheer turbulence of his life-which also includes two bouts of cancer in his 30s-certainly makes for a readable book, though not a probing one. The clichéd writing and Strawberry's refusal to delve deeper into his past (a troubled older brother; his strained relationship with pro athlete son, DJ) make it hard to bond with Strawberry, and his newfound spirituality provides only another barrier. 16-page photo insert not seen by PW. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A former major leaguer's paint-by-numbers story of redemption. Strawberry-a New York Mets icon (he also played for the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees), eight-time All-Star and four-time World Series champion-was an enigma. Blessed with limitless talent but frequently injured, often standoffish with the media and occasionally at odds with teammates, he spent his potential hall-of-fame career logging more time in the trainer's room and the courtroom than the outfield. Highly publicized legal drama-fueled by his addition to drugs, alcohol and women-followed him constantly. Twice divorced, Strawberry admits to following in his delinquent father's footsteps and assaulting his first two wives-unlike his father, however, he never turned his wrath on his children. A career spent battling addiction reached its nadir with a colon cancer diagnosis in 1998. Forced to retire, Strawberry continued to self-destruct, squandering his fortune and serving time behind bars. After blaming everyone from his abusive father to the vindictive media to his ex-wives, Strawberry finally began to take responsibility. He admitted his mistakes and, after finding God, got himself clean and on the path to recovery. He dedicated his life to his third wife, his five children and charitable causes, such as the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which aids children with autism. Unfortunately, Strawberry won't garner much sympathy from readers. His angst-filled insistences that he's a good person with a bad addiction problem quickly wear thin, and his monotonous relapses are so predictable that one begins to wonder why so many people continued to aid him. There's nothing original in this tale of woe, but it's unlikely that thesporting public will ever tire of seeing its fallen heroes repent and make amends. Author appearances in Los Angeles and New York City
Buster Olney
“Darryl Strawberry hit more than 300 homers and shared in four championships, but he will be remembered as much for what he didn’t accomplish as for all of the things he accomplished. In STRAW, he tells you why.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“If you’re looking for an interesting book about a chaotically interesting life, Straw makes for good reading.”
Reggie Jackson
“STRAW is the story of a guy who had two strikes against him in the middle innings of life and hit one out of the park.”
David Cone
“Darryl has written a profound book on the meaning of celebrity, sports and manhood. Reading his story, you follow an incredibly talented ballplayer who fell prey to his demons off the field. This is a riveting and memorable account of one man’s pursuit of a meaningful life.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594169857
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Darryl Strawberry

Darryl Strawberry was born in Crenshaw, California. An eight-time All-Star, a four-time World Series Champion, and a National League Rookie of the Year, he played for the Mets, Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees during his headlining career. In 2008, Strawberry began serving as a special ambassador for the Mets. He is the father of five and lives in Missouri with his wife, Tracy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Straw delievers again!

    To see the challenges he faced, mostly because of his own decisions, give anyone hope that good choices can bring about good outcomes! A must read for a baseball fan!

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