Darryl Strawberry was one of the most talented baseball players to have played the game in the last 50 years. His smooth powerful swing launched home runs into the atmosphere with ease and even grace. However, his well-documented battles off the field took away any shot at being recognized as a Hall of Famer.

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Strawberry comes to the Capital Region this weekend to tell the story of his downward spiral and deliver a message of hope. The 8-time All Star has been a guest several times on The Drive with Charlie & Dan. Darryl freely tells how drugs & alcohol threw his career off the rails. Now, he travels the country and over 250 times a year and tells all that will listen, it is never too late to get back on track.

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Following a monstrous career with the Mets an injury plagued contract with the Dodgers, Strawberry was first suspended from Major League Baseball for cocaine use in 1995. After a successful stint with the Yankees from 1995-1999, that included two World Championship teams, he was suspended for the entire 2000 season, again for cocaine. That was pretty much the end of what could have been a storybook career. Strawberry's addiction battles often played out on the front pages of the New York media. Very little of his troubles were "personal."

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After his forced retirement from MLB, the 17-year Major Leaguer spent 11-months in jail in 2003. Rock bottom seemed to have been reached. In 2006, Darryl married his wife Tracy and truly embraced religion. They have written several books on addiction and recovery. Now the couple tours the country with a busier speaking schedule than his days in Major League Baseball. Darryl Strawberry is truly committed to the cause that may have saved his life.

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Were there more home runs in Darryl Strawberry's bat that were taken away by drugs and alcohol? You bet. However, Strawberry feels if he can help save or re-direct a life struggling with addiction, that will certainly make-up for any time lost in the game he loved. You can meet Darryl Strawberry Thursday night at Joe Bruno Stadium prior to the ValleyCats game. Tickets are still available on tcvalleycats.com. Get there early. There is a pre-game event and then Darryl will throw out the first pitch. Strawberry has other events in the Capital Region this weekend. Go to the Strawberry Ministries at findingyourway.com.

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