As the first overall pick of the 1980 MLB Draft, you could say that Darryl Strawberry was expected to have a legendary career. In fact, he was a big star in the eighties: he debuted with the New York Mets in 1983 and stayed there until 1990, when he went to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Strawberry also played with the San Francisco Giants and, from 1995 to 1999, he wore pinstripes, retiring with the New York Yankees. He said goodbye with 41.5 career fWAR, 335 homers, 221 stolen bases and a solid .259/.357/.505 line.
Up until his last day with the New York Mets, he was actually on the path to the Hall of Fame. However, he made what he now calls one of the worst decisions of his career: leaving Queens for Los Angeles.
Strawberry was one of the brightest stars of the Mets’ 1986 team that won the World Series. He told SNY “Baseball Night in New York” on Tuesday that signing with the Dodgers when he was a free agent after the 1990 season was the “the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career.”
He was a star with the Mets but things went south after that
Simply put, Strawberry wasn’t the same with the Dodgers, Giants or Yankees. With the New York Mets, he hit 252 of his 335 round-trippers and drove in 753 of his 1000 runs.
After leaving the Mets, his career took a turn for the worst: he had legal issues, a drug addiction, lots of injuries and even colon cancer.
“The fans are so different in New York than LA,” Strawberry said. “L.A. fans come late and leave early. New York fans come early and never leave. They wait until the end of the game, whether you win or lose, and I was used to that.
“I was just more used to the aggressive fans and playing in New York City and letting people be over the dugout and yelling at you running across the field. And when you suck, they tell you you suck. And you look at them like, ‘Yeah, I do suck right now. I need to get better.’”