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Strawberry's story one of unfulfilled potential

Monday, June 21, 2004
Clock strikes 440 feet for Strawberry
By Mike Puma
Special to

Signature Game

Darryl Strawberry
Darryl Strawberry is the Mets' all-time leader in homers (252) and RBI (733).
Oct. 1, 1985 - The digital clock behind the bleachers in right-center at Busch Stadium read 10:44 when Darryl Strawberry's 11th-inning blast off left-handed St. Louis reliever Ken Dayley hit it. The homer, estimated at 440 feet, gave the Mets a 1-0 victory and moved them within two games of the Cardinals in the NL East with five to play.

Dayley struck out the first two Mets in the 11th before hanging a 1-1 breaking pitch to Strawberry. Rightfielder Andy Van Slyke hardly moved as Strawberry's rocket was launched.

"That's one of the longest I've ever hit," said Strawberry, whose home run was his 28th of the season.

Still, Strawberry didn't get to enjoy the view. "When you watch a home run, you show the pitcher up," he said. "That's not my style."

While the homer kept the Mets in the race, they were unable to catch the Cardinals and were eliminated on the next-to-last day of the season.

Odds 'n' Ends

  • Strawberry's oldest brother, Mike, played two years in the Dodgers' farm system before becoming a Los Angeles police officer.

  • The Mets gave Strawberry a $200,000 signing bonus in 1980.

  • In his first game for Class AA Jackson in 1982, Strawberry hit for the cycle.

  • He twice hit three home runs in a game, once for the Mets in 1985 and once for the Yankees in 1996.

  • In his 17 seasons, Strawberry had eight stints on the disabled list.

  • Strawberry made only two errors in 110 games in the outfield in 1985.

  • In 1986, Strawberry led all players in All-Star voting with 1.62 million.

  • Strawberry's first career World Series homer came in his final at-bat in 1986, off Boston's Al Nipper in the 8-5 Mets' victory in Game 7.

  • Strawberry fought with teammate Keith Hernandez during the Mets' team photo shoot in spring training 1989.

  • He homered once every 14 at-bats in 1990, the best ratio in the National League.

  • After 1990, he did not steal more than 10 bases in a season.

  • On Aug. 21, 1991, Strawberry had seven RBI in a game against the San Diego Padres, setting a record for most RBI in a game by a Dodger at Dodger Stadium.

  • After 1991, the most games in which Strawberry appeared in a season was 101, in 1998.

  • Strawberry stole 221 career bases, swiping a career-high 36 in 1987.

  • In each of his first nine seasons, Strawberry finished in the NL's top 10 in homers.

  • Strawberry liked to spread his wealth among his family. Court documents revealed that in April 1992, he wrote $22,000 in checks to relatives.

  • In December 1995, Strawberry was charged in California for failure to pay child and spousal support.

  • In 1996, Strawberry told a court he would use a $260,000 bonus received from the Yankees as partial payment of support owed to his former wife Lisa and two children, Darryl Jr. and Diamond.

  • On Aug. 8, 1996, he became the first Yankee in 40 years to hit five homers in three regular-season games. Three of the homers were consecutive.

  • In 1998, he became the fourth Yankee to have two career pinch-hit grand slams.

  • Attorney Robert Shapiro sued Strawberry in 1998 for $100,000 for a contract Shapiro negotiated with the Dodgers in 1994.

  • After Strawberry was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1998, the Yankees wore his No. 39 on their caps throughout the postseason.

  • During Strawberry's first cancer surgery, a 16-inch portion of his large intestine was removed.

  • On Nov. 21, 2000, Strawberry was sentenced to a year's probation and 50 hours community service for causing a traffic accident in September while under the influence of pain killers.

  • On April 2, 2001, he was arrested and charged with violating a probation warrant after a four-day disappearance from a drug treatment center.

  • Strawberry's son D.J. averaged 6.2 points as a freshman on the Maryland basketball team in 2003-04.

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