Join us for the evening to hear from baseball legend, Darryl Strawberry.
Darryl Strawberry is a baseball legend. He boasts 335 home runs, 1,000 RBIs, four World Series championship wins and eight consecutive appearances at the National League All-Star game. Yet his struggles off the field are equally legendary.
During the course of his 17-year career, he was suspended three times for substance abuse. He was in and out of rehab. He was arrested multiple times, including for alleged domestic assault, possession and solicitation. He was indicted for federal tax evasion. He eventually served time in prison.
For Strawberry, drugs, alcohol, sex, even the game itself, was all an escape from the depression that came from growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father.Strawberry grew up in south central Los Angeles. He was the middle of five children. It was Strawberry, the second oldest son, Ronnie, and their mother who bore the brunt of their father’s abuse. In his autobiography, “Straw: Finding My Way,” Strawberry writes:
I clearly remember one night after he beat us both, Ronnie and I were lying on our beds. His shirt was off and I could see the terrible welts on his back. “I’m not going to live like this,” he said. “We’re going to have to kill him. We’re just going to have to kill him, that’s all.” Imagine a fourteen-year-old boy talking about his father that way. And me, thirteen, agreeing. Imagine hating your dad that much. We both hated our father, hated what he had done to us and what we became. We became monsters inside.
Not long after that, his father came home drunk, took his shotgun from the closet and threatened to kill the whole family. The boys, along with their oldest brother, Mike, took a stand. Their father left that night for good.
Darryl will share his journey of recovery as Oaklawn hosts its annual fundraiser.