PHOTO: Darryl and Tracy Strawberry
Darryl Strawberry was a prodigious home run hitter who won four World Series as a member of the New York Mets and New York Yankees. The retired baseball great was also the National League Rookie of the Year in 1983 as well as an 8-time All-Star over the course of his storybook career. Today, Darryl’s purpose and passion is serving the Lord by speaking a message of hope and by helping others transform their lives through the power of the gospel.
His wife, Tracy, has a true passion to equip individuals to live out a life of freedom and purpose in Christ. An ordained minister, her powerful but practical systematic teachings outline the steps of how a person can achieve change and live a victorious life through the power of God and by actively engaging in the process of change.
Tracy's hard hitting, spirit-filled, sermons have touched men and women of all ages. She teaches Biblical truth with practical application to deliver a message of faith, redeeming hope, restoration and freedom. She believes that through the Word of God and the Power of The Holy Spirit those who are lost will be found and those who are bound will be free.
Here, they talk about their faith-based relationship advice book, The Imperfect Marriage.
Kam Williams: Hi Darryl and Tracy, thanks for the time. I’m honored to have this opportunity to speak with you.
Darryl Strawberry: Thank you for having us, Kam.
Tracy Strawberry: Yes.
KW: You know I just got off the phone with somebody you might know, Mike and Sherry Pittman, publishers of the Capital City Courier, one of the papers I write for.
Tracy: We sure do!
Darryl: Of course! Wonderful, wonderful friends!
KW: What inspired you to write The Imperfect Marriage?
Tracy: Well, there’s an overwhelming demand coming from people looking for answers in their marriages. And Darryl and I have overcome adultery… addiction… losing everything… blended families… so many issues. And our marriage has survived. The big question we get from so many people is: How did you do it? This book is a journey through how we did it, and how others can do it, too.
Darryl: And when you sit down to write a book like this, you have to have your own self together first. In making a troubled marriage work, the first thing you have to do is look not at your partner, but at your own self, in order to get to a place where you can get well, and then the two of you can come together.
KW: Why did you decide to go public with so much of your private life?
Darryl: Because everything has such a hidden agenda nowadays. We’re living in a toxic world and people are falling apart. The most important thing is becoming honest about your life and who you are. That’s the only way you’re going to be able to get well and stay well. We believe that. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. The most important thing is that we’re in a healthy marriage.
Tracy: Also, when you’re honest about your own things, it draws people in and allows them to let down their own guard, and to be honest about their own situations. Our goal here is to encourage people by saying: If we can make it, so can you. It’s not to just leave them with a false sense of hope. There are practical applications. We keep it real. We’re living in a time when people are facing real hardships and real heartaches, so we talk about ours in the hope that they can overcome theirs as well. The idea is to encourage them, help them, and to give them practical applications about how they can overcome.
KW: I see that you opened the Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in Florida earlier this year. Is that for athletes?
Darryl: Yes, a treatment center in St. Cloud with a 12-Step program not just for athletes, but for anyone with substance abuse problems. We come from addiction, and we know that addiction destroys lives. We just hope people understand that they can be restored whatever their condition is.
KW: How do you like life away from the limelight?
Darryl: Living in the Midwest has been a blessing for us, because of who we are. We’re in Tracy’s hometown. And we’re ordained ministers whose purpose is informing people about the love of Jesus and getting them to realize that Christ is what’s most important. Life here is simple, and not so complicated, and I think that’s what we enjoy more than anything.
KW: It must have been hard achieving so much fanfare while still in your teens. And in New York, no less.
Darryl: It’s a lot, no question about it. Playing in a place like New York is very difficult and challenging. But I’m truly blessed to have a happy life today after going there and playing there and overcoming so much adversity. And I’m grateful for my wife and all that she brings to the table in terms of helping me become a better man. I didn’t put it all together until Tracy came into my life and we came together as a team. And I’m also thankful for God’s grace, and His love and His mercy.
KW: Do you think this relationship book might be turned into a movie the way Steve Harvey’s Think Like a Man was?
Darryl: I don’t know. Anything could happen.
Tracy: It would be wonderful if it becomes a movie, but what we really care about are souls. And we want to help all those people out there who are hurting out to get marriage right. We want to speak to them in order to transform lives and transform marriages.
KW: There are 17 faith-based films being released this year. There has been a real resurgence in Christian movies.
Tracy: To God be the glory! If we can be a tool to change the multitudes and lead people to Christ, and bring them to eternal life, and not just restore marriages but restore individuals who are going to Heaven, may it come to pass.
Darryl: I definitely would like to see it on the big screen, because it would show how really good God is, and that the kingdom is far more important than this worldly stuff. The principles we’re sharing will make you a better person, a whole person.
KW: If the two of you were throwing your dream dinner party, who’d you invite?
Tracy: Oh my goodness! [Laughs]
Darryl: I would want Jesus there. There’s no question for me. I would like to sit in front of God and have him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
Tracy: Amen! And I would invite the lost, those who would’ve never been able to come to a dinner party, and all of those who don’t know Christ or the greatness of who they are inside.
KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
Darryl: I see a person who has been transformed from an icon and celebrity who achieved some things and experienced some failures into someone who’s crossed to the other side, who loves people and wants to help people. The most important thing is being able to give back.
Tracy: When I look in the mirror, I see a miracle that I never, ever, ever thought could happen. I see a free woman of God with a marriage that had zero hope which was brought back to life through hard work and faith. I see a woman who’s restored to her children, and I see a strong person.
KW: The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?
Tracy: My childhood memories are of my great and wonderful parents, and family traditions like Christmas and sitting around the dinner table. I think about how hard my parents worked to make that happen. And I think of peace, joy and happiness.
Darryl: My childhood was very difficult due to the fact that my dad was a raging alcoholic, as his dad was. That affected me a lot, but it also made me strong and enabled me to grow into the person I am today. So, I consider my childhood a tremendous gift, no matter how difficult it was. I never quit. I never gave up. And I was eventually able to lead my dad to the Lord. God has a purpose for your life, regardless of your circumstances.
KW: Larry Greenberg asks: If you could share just one piece of advice, what would it be?
Darryl: Don’t quit! Don’t give up, regardless of what situation you’re in or what has happened to you. That would be my advice to anybody.
Tracy: I would say pick up this book, because in order to not quit, you need to know how to find yourself, and to learn about the issues that are inside of yourself, and how to overcome things like bitterness and betrayals, and how to rebuild trust. This book is so jam-packed! It leads you on the journey. It’s not a quick-fix, but has concrete stuff.
KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?
Tracy: [LOL] My husband loves tacos, and he loves them cooked a certain way. And I love to prepare that for him when he comes home because he’s on the road so much.
Darryl: I definitely just want to lie on the coach and eat some homemade tacos when I come off the road.
KW: The bookworm Troy Johnson question: What was the last book you read?
Tracy: [LOL] The Bible! I read it every day. I’m also reading The Power of Spiritual Alignment by Frank Damazio. I love to read books about leadership and books about Christ.
Darryl: I love reading the Bible and books about men being restored to their rightful place.
KW: What’s the biggest difference between Darryl Strawberry the icon and the real Darryl?
Darryl: People think they know the icon, but they don’t know the real inner person. We’re all created for much more than just what we do. Why are we created? What will my journey be? I believe that those of us who are healthy and in our right mind have a great responsibility to help someone else in need.
KW: If you could have a chance to speak with a deceased loved one for a minute, who would it be and what would you say?
Darryl: I would choose my mother, and say, “Mom, I’m so sorry that I didn’t listen to you.”
Tracy: I would choose my Grandma Bea, and I’d thank her for always loving me wherever I was at, and for her joyful smile, and for never giving up on me. It’s those people in your life who really lead you into wholeness.
KW: The Judyth Piazza question: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
Darryl: Yeah, they believe in themselves when no one else does. Not doubting when everyone else is doubting.
Tracy: I would say character. Character is who you are on the inside. It could make you or break you. If you are full of character defects, you will never achieve, you will never overcome.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Darryl and Tracy, and best of luck with the book.
Darryl: Thanks for having us, Kam.
Tracy: It’s been such an honor to be with you.