HomeNews

Darryl Strawberry shares his story, inspires Team Travis

Darryl Strawberry

From left, U.S. Air Force Maj. Kemuel Bellows, a chaplain, former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry, and Col. Kenneth Reyes, 60th Air Mobility Wing chaplain, pray after Strawberry’s presentation at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 11, 2018. The former Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series champion spent 17 years in the Majors. Strawberry’s addiction to drugs and other vices are well chronicled and now uses those experiences to motivate others. As a pastor, he uses his testimony to instill healing through spirituality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Darryl Strawberry

Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry speaks to Airmen and their families at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 11, 2018. The former Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series champion spent 17 years in the Majors. Strawberry’s addiction to drugs and other vices are well chronicled, and he now uses those experiences to motivate others. As a pastor, he uses his testimony to instill healing through spirituality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Darryl Strawberry

Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry speaks to Airmen and their families at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 11, 2018. The former Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series champion spent 17 years in the Majors. Strawberry’s addiction to drugs and other vices are well chronicled, and he now uses those experiences to motivate others. As a pastor, he uses his testimony to instill healing through spirituality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

Darryl Strawberry

Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry speaks to Airmen and their families at Travis Air Force Base, Calif., April 11, 2018. The former Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series champion spent 17 years in the Majors. Strawberry’s addiction to drugs and other vices are well chronicled, and he now uses those experiences to motivate others. As a pastor, he uses his testimony to instill healing through spirituality. (U.S. Air Force photo by Louis Briscese)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Clutching his bible tightly and delivering an inspiring message, former baseball player turned pastor, Darryl Strawberry, shared his incredible journey with Airmen and their families at Travis Air Force Base, California. Strawberry’s off-the-field problems are well chronicled. An admitted drug abuser and alcoholic, the former Rookie of the Year and four-time World Series champion with the New York Mets and New York Yankees now uses those experiences to motivate others. As a pastor, he uses his testimony to instill healing through spirituality.

Strawberry, whose career spanned 17 seasons, immediately rose to fame as a baseball star with the New York Mets in 1983. The instant success made him a hit with the New York fans.

“It was fun, it was exciting but also very challenging,” said Strawberry. “To be in the big leagues at the age of 21 and having those expectations, and come to a place like New York and have an immediate impact was a dream come true.”

For nearly two decades, Strawberry experienced an abundance of on-field success. However, that success did not translate off the field. Strawberry became addicted to substances, found himself in legal trouble and several marriages ended in divorce. He’s been to jail, drug treatment centers and hospitals and was $3 million in debt at one time. Yet, Strawberry doesn’t blame anyone and believes he made those choices because he never accepted God into his life.

“The attention from the success had nothing to do with the choices that I made,” said Strawberry. “It came from the brokenness on the inside of my life, which I never dealt with.”

That brokenness began early in Strawberry’s life when he and his family were threatened by his father.

“At the age of 14, my dad came in with a gun and said that he was going to kill us all,” said Strawberry. “My brother and I fought with our dad to get the gun. It was a bad situation.”

Years of abuse and dysfunction in Strawberry’s upbringing lead to him harboring a lot of pain.

“We assume that celebrities or professional athletes have it all together,” said Strawberry. “You’ll find that most of them are broken and that their pain leads them to their greatness. That’s what happened with me.”

But, eventually, the buildup becomes overwhelming and unmanageable.

“My greatness would eventually lead me to my destructive behavior,” said Strawberry. “It had nothing to do with my celebrity status, it had to do with avoiding what I was feeling on the inside.”

Even a bout with colon cancer couldn’t keep Strawberry from making poor choices. It was his third and current wife Tracy who finally got his attention that he needed to make a change from within.

“It was my wife Tracy. She told me I needed to take (a step back from baseball),” said Strawberry. “I had never heard anything like that before. I had my identity stuck with being a baseball player and I needed to take responsibility for my life.”

All of Strawberry’s attempts to get back on track, failed because he was trying to do it alone, he said. Once he accepted God into his life, he saw things more clearly.

“There were many times when I tried to get myself together but I couldn’t,” said Strawberry. “God never shows us anything different, God is going to use people to help people.”

Now Strawberry is a changed man. He’s using his testimony to inspire others to accept God into their lives. It was exactly that testimony that inspired Darlene Johnson, 60th Air Mobility Wing, chapel account manager, to pursue Strawberry to come to Travis and tell his story.

“I saw Mr. Strawberry giving his testimony on Trinity Broadcasting Network,” said Johnson. “I was so intrigued that I watched it three times and was so impressed with his perseverance.”

Johnson, really connected with the message Strawberry was conveying.
“I was going through some difficult times and I heard his testimony and it really helped me,” said Johnson. “If there’s hope for him, there’s hope for me, and hope for everyone else.”

Johnson believes that Strawberry’s message can inspire those in uniform because of the challenges they face from the stressors that come with serving their country.

“It’s inspiring the challenges he’s overcome because you realize it’s possible,” said Johnson. “We can overcome challenges, we can overcome opposition and we just have to be willing to do so.”

For those in attendance, Strawberry’s testimony is a reminder that you can overcome any challenge if you are willing to. Tech. Sgt. Michelle Tucker, 60th Air Mobility Wing, chaplain assistant, was moved by Strawberry’s story.

“It was great to hear his story. I’m so impressed with what he has overcome,” said Tucker. “He emphasizes that there’s hope for anyone no matter how bad your situation is.” 

Speaking at a military installation is special for Strawberry because he has a son who is serving in the Air Force. And although it’s his first time doing so, he has always appreciated the sacrifices and challenges service members face day-to-day.

“We have a son that is in the Air Force, he’s stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana,” said Strawberry. “This is my first time on a military installation. I’ve seen it from a distance. I’ve always been impressed with it because it’s so important what they do for our country.”

Strawberry’s message is simple. He wants people to know that accepting God and spirituality is what it took for him to overcome his demons. He’s hoping that others will hear that and be open to the same premise.

“My message is God must increase what I must decrease,” said Strawberry. “If I need to get somewhere in life, I must decrease, and let him lead my life or I can never fulfill the promises.”

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
The Shooting Stars Drones will launch again at around 10:20 p.m. and we will do another live video stream at that time. Thank you for your patience.
#TeamTravis, As we get closer to tonight’s festivities, what part of the celebration are you most looking forward to? In addition, we’ll also be hosting a bounce house, a beer and wine truck, a hotdog and burger food truck, and an on-site DJ. We will also be allowing families to bring in their own food and water as long as the water is in a clear container. Hope to see you all out there!
#DidYouKnow the United States Air Force has a new Airman Against Drunk Driving app available on the App Store and Google Play? Just another way the U.S. Air Force is committed to #NeverDUI
**Edited for clarification*** #TeamTravis, As weather updates continue to come in, the Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show show portion may not happen. As of now, the show is still happening, but we're monitoring tomorrow's weather on a minute-to-minute basis and will continue to update you all as we get closer to the event. No matter what, festivities are a go! Airmen and the public are still invited to celebrate with bouncy houses, food trucks, a DJ, and a rock climbing wall! Below are maps to the parking areas and entrance for the event as well as the event location.
Due to forecasted high winds, the scheduled July 3 rehearsal, which was open to DoD ID Cardholders, has been canceled. Please stay tuned for more updates as we monitor the weather for the 4th of July event.
#Repost Visit Fairfield, California -- "There are no active fires near Travis AFB or Solano County. . . . Good morning friends! Solano County photographer James Guzzo was up early for the sunrise and captured these images from our hills. The smoke cloud you can see is from a fire burning in Yolo County. There are no active fires near Fairfield and Solano County. #VisitFairfieldCA"
To all of #TeamTravis and our local community, please be safe! For continued updates, please sign up with alertsolano.com to get them sent straight to your device.
"Anything that is an extension of, what I call, America's power, promise, or ideals, is done through logistics and transportation." --USAF Gen. Darren W. McDew, U.S. Transportation Command commander. Travis #Airmen deliver on that promise...anytime, anywhere. And we're proud it. #NoBounds | #TeamTravis
🎶This is ground control to Major Tom...🎶 Always on the cutting edge, #TeamTravis has recently entered into talks with NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration to establish a research collaboration leading to advances in medical support for deep space missions as well as warfighters. Read more about Travis' potential role in the future of space exploration in the article below. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | Air Force Times | AFMS - David Grant USAF Medical Center - 60th Medical Group, Travis AFB | U.S. Military | #NoBounds
Congratulations SMSgt Lucero Stockett, 6th ARS, for being named one of the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year for 2018! It is a honor to call you a member of #TeamTravis!
This 4th of July, #TeamTravis is partnering with Intel to put on a #patriotic light show with the help of more than 500 individual drones. Check out the video below and visit our event page, Travis AFB 4th of July ft. Intel® Shooting Star Drone Light Show, for a taste of what's to come during next week's jaw-dropping spectacle. United States Air Force | U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) | Airman Magazine | United States | Air Force Times | Military.com | #FourthofJuly ***The DoD does not endorse Intel***
Team Travis Defenders teamed up with #SpecialOlympics athletes to run through Travis AFB and Vacaville, California last week for the annual Law Enforcement Torch Run.
A KC-10 crew recetly completed a mission in the pacific refueling fighters supporting Exercise RED FLAG-Alaska and strengthening relationships between the USAF and the Japan Air Self Defense Force. To learn more click on the photos below. #NoBounds | #EngagingGlobally | #GotFuel
Not only is 2018 the 75th anniversary of Travis but also the 9th Air Refueling Squadrons #75thAnniversary. The diverse history of the 9th ARS includes operating in the China-Burma-India Theater of Operations, flying the F-4U Corsair as well as the P-38 Lightning. Click on one of the photos below to see what it means to wear the 9th ARS patch. #GucciPride | #Universal | #Travis75th
This week we salute SrA Steven Fing for being named the #TeamTravis Warrior of the Week. Fing is a Nondestructive Inspection Technician in the 60th MXS. His leadership skills as a shift leader enabled 22 maintenance acts ensuring 620 sorties. #WoW | #Maintenance
#TeamTravis is kind of a big deal in Fairfield, California! On Tuesday during a city council meeting, leadership received a proclamation from the city in honor of celebrating the 75th anniversary of the base. #Servinglocally | #Travis75th
During a recent KC-10 Extender mission, two flying crew chiefs kept the aircraft serviced enabling it to complete a roundtrip journey of more than 9,000 nautical miles and offloaded more than 200,000 pounds of fuel to eight F-15s. #FueltheFight | #RapidGlobalMobility | #NoBounds
The rumors are true! #TeamTravis is celebrating #IndependenceDay with a special light show featuring the Intel Shooting Star Drones. We are opening our gates to the community for this event. Stay tuned for more information! #NoBounds | #PoweredbySpark | #75thAnniversary | AFWERX | Air Mobility Command | Heather Wilson
Gen. Paul J. Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is no stranger to Travis. He has commanded a squadron and a group here in the past. Last Friday #TeamTravis was honored for him to return to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Travis and the 9th ARS. #Travis75th | #NoBounds Check out more images here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmnD5ga6
#PhoenixSpark, Travis's grassroots innovation program is kindling connections and spreading ideas on their new LinkedIn page! Airmen, community members, and business leaders alike, join the conversation as we deliver tomorrow's tools to the Warfighter today! #PoweredBySpark https://www.linkedin.com/company/travis-afb-phoenix-spark/
Travis AFB updates on-base drone policy https://t.co/7bLf72vv39
HUGE honor to be invited out by the #49ers as a part of their Community Corner! Check out these pictures of the day… https://t.co/CeH3AmfGiO
Even heroes have heroes. Check out the story below to see how the @Raiders and @Lions gave props to #TeamTravis Air… https://t.co/7KrtOUwMgZ
Commissary lines have you pulling your hair out? Fret no more. Check out the article below to see how #TeamTravis i… https://t.co/nJVCGCM9a7
RT @FairfieldPolice: TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Air Base Parkway closed in both directions between Clay Bank and Dover due to Police Activity. http…
RT @CAL_FIRE: #NelsonFire [update] near Nelson Rd and Cherry Glen Rd, Vacaville (Solano County) is now 1000 acres and 70% contained. Unifie…
RT @FairfieldPolice: Evacuation Order Lifted for Gold Ridge Development south of Hancock Drive https://t.co/dXlr0ZYSDR
RT @FairfieldPolice: Evacuation Order Lifted for Paradise Valley. Gold Ridge Evacuation Still in Effect https://t.co/hPpUhFO6yc
As a point of clarification, there are currently NO evacuations active for Travis AFB installation. We will continu… https://t.co/QXKzRIzhYO
#TeamTravis, there is currently no threat to the installation because of the #NelsonFire. However, please see below… https://t.co/fIvOe6TNh0
RT @vacareporter: Vacaville evacuations have been lifted. Fairfield evacuations are expected to be lifted within the hour. SPCA animals wer…
RT @FireUpdates: #LagoonValleyRdFire CA-LNU/FRF-NELSON Evacuations for the Foxboro Subdivision have been lifted For more info https://t.co…
Official evacuation advisory via @FairfieldPolice https://t.co/inZjPsq8M1
While the #NelsonFire remains a close hazard to base personnel, it has not become an immediate threat. #Airmen are… https://t.co/qpF2RNaxKo
At the request of local authorities, #TeamTravis has sent 4 fire trucks, 1 fire tender truck and 14 personnel to as… https://t.co/7Zs5iEl82l
#TeamTravis will remain in constant communication with #Fairfield and #Vacaville authorities as to the status of th… https://t.co/quHjgiTI61
RT @FairfieldPolice: Evacuations Continuing Due to Grass Fire, Paradise Valley Area, Evacuation Center opening at Fairfield High https://t.…
There is currently no threat to #TravisAFB installation. We have sent three AF firefighters and a water tender truc… https://t.co/Mpt7uNTPjP
22nd Airlift Squadron boosts squadron vision in off-site initiative wi https://t.co/fZhQMl3Ne0
“We form a community together, share stories and are comforted to know that we aren’t going through this alone."… https://t.co/WedFqpS4yt