Last night, Hub City witnessed a miracle.
No, it’s not the same kind of miracle as the 2016 Jackson Generals, a team that won the Southern League championship one year after finishing tied for last place. But it is a miracle in the sense that misery and emptiness can turn into fulfillment and good will. That self-described miracle’s name? Darryl Strawberry.
At a dinner held by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism, Generals GM Jason Compton introduced Strawberry, who spoke about the way addiction has impacted his life. Though a four-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees and Mets, Strawberry focused on betterment and belief rather than baseball.
Despite earning eight National League All-Star selections, Strawberry’s life was marked by addiction from age 13 all the way up through his early 40s. Strawberry was released from prison in 2003 after serving 11 months for a drug charge. He’s now 14 years sober, just a few days shy of his 55th birthday. His message was one that conveyed the importance of standing by those affected by addiction.
“No kid signs up to be a drug addict, to be an alcoholic. It happens because there is emptiness in their life,” Strawberry said. “Young kids overdose every day. They need their communities to rise up and support them, not to give up on them. These people need to know their lives matter.”
Strawberry is now an ordained minister, and he and his wife Tracy run the Florida-based Strawberry Ministries for victims of addiction. He was kind enough to sit down with me for a few minutes before dinner and share his thoughts on minor league baseball and addiction as well. You can listen to our conversation below.
By the way, I’m Tyler Springs. I’ll be assisting Generals broadcaster Brandon Liebhaber with media relations and game broadcasts for the 20th season of Generals baseball at The Ballpark at Jackson. You can find me on Twitter here–go ahead and follow Brandon and the team if you haven’t already!
We’re excited about the team’s new affiliation with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and we are looking forward to bringing you fun and insightful coverage of the D-backs’ Double-A affiliate in 2017. The Generals will open the season at home on April 6th against Birmingham at 6:05pm. Visit (and re-visit!) this blog throughout the year for more Generals news and notes, and check out JacksonGeneralsBaseball.com for 2017 tickets, which are on sale now!