In 1992, however, everything began to fall apart. Injuries began to ravage his career and the Dodgers cut him loose mid-way through his fourth season (1994) after playing in only 65 games between 1992 and 1993 and didn't even play a game with the Dodgers before his release in 1994. He did latch on with the 1994 Giants, playing in 29 games before the labor strike ended that season. 1995 didn't start well as he was suspended because of his use of cocaine and was dealing with child support issues, but was able to get into 32 games for the 1995 Yankees. In 1996, he started the season in independent ball, but the Yankees came calling again, and he got into 63 games and played fairly well. It was that season he was part of the 1996 Yankees championship, which he enjoyed with former Mets teammates David Cone and Dwight Gooden.
In 1997, Strawberry missed all but 11 games due to injuries, but in 1998 played the last truly great season of his career. He played in 101 games, batting .247/.354/.542, but due to his lack of mobility in the outfield, he mostly played designated hitter, which made him only worth 1.7 WAR for the Yankees because of the defensive penalty counted against players for playing DH. He won yet another Championship, but later that year was diagnosed with colon cancer. It was after that his career was essentially over. But he did make a comeback from his cancer treatment, and he got into 24 games with the Yankees in 1999 and hit a key home run in the 1999 ALCS. Strawberry won one final ring before retiring for good. In that same year, though, he was arrested for a rather peculiar and ridiculous incident which led to two years’ probation.
After his retirement his life was a mess. His cancer treatment was on-going and his drug use increased. Among other things, he was imprisoned for 11 months, and at one point lost the will to live and stopped his chemotherapy treatments. Fortunately for him, he did eventually straighten his life out by 2005, meeting his new wife in the process. He now has an organization, the Darryl Strawberry Foundation, which is dedicated to kids with autism. He's also been playing golf and has made quite a few public appearances over the past few years, including appearing on Pros Vs. Joes and the Apprentice.
Darryl Strawberry probably would've been a Hall-of-Famer if the injuries hadn't ravaged him so badly after 1992. As it is, though, he enjoyed four World Championships and has one of the more fascinating player stories in recent baseball history. It is great to see that after all he went through that he was able to turn his life around. It's just a shame that his career as a ballplayer just didn't turn out the way it could have.
Good luck in everything you're doing, Darryl.
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons