Darryl Strawberry said leaving the Mets was perhaps the biggest mistake of his career

Simeon Woods-Richardson

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.’”

Kobe Bryant: “I Wanted to be Darryl Strawberry”

Kobe Bryant

The sad and shocking news of basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s passing on Sunday has elicited responses and condolences from around the globe. It also is bringing to the surface many of the great stories and legends behind this iconic man, who touched the lives of so many.

We offer our condolences to the Bryant family and the families of the other victims of the California helicopter crash that took the lives of Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday.

Here’s a quick factoid about Kobe that many may not have known. Although he grew up in the Philadelphia area, Kobe was a New York Mets fan.

Those players, of course, were part of the powerhouse Mets teams of the 1980s. Bryant, who was born in 1978 would have been and impressionable eight year old when the Mets were on top of the baseball world in the mid-late 80s, so yes, this is believable.

And it makes sense. Those Mets teams were bold, talented and had swagger. Bryant was undaunted and courageous in life as well. Of course, he went on to become a Dodgers fans after spending so much time in LA but as a kid, he found those Mets hard to resist.

Strawberry was an LA local legend out of Crenshaw High School and there were many Darryl fans in LA and around the country. He was an inspiration to many youngsters back then but didn’t realize the impact he had. Only in his later years did Strawberry come to realize his fame and influence.

The fact that he had an impression on Kobe and his generation is telling.