Monday, December 16, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #89 DARRYL STRAWBERRY


WHAT A SWEET HOME RUN SWING.




A LOT OF TALENT AND A LOT OF ISSUES.




DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Darryl Strawberry became a minister three years ago and pretty much renounced his former life as an eight-time All-Star slugger and frequent substance-abuser. You have to wonder if Strawberry The Minister wishes he could've talked some sense into Strawberry The Superstar. Too bad someone didn't get through. He played 17 years, hit 335 homers, stole 221 bases and drove in 1,000 runs. Good numbers, but with his talent, they're disappointing. Instead of a Hall of Famer, he's a cautionary tale. Nothing worse than talent wasted, and Strawberry is living proof.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Strawberry was up to his self-centered ways on Oct. 27, 1986, in Game 7 of the World Series after hitting a homer in the bottom of the eighth. In the epic Game 6, Strawberry was infuriated after being lifted in a ninth-inning double-switch. So when Straw connected off the Red Sox's Al Nipper to extend the Mets' lead to 7-5, he went into an ultra-slow trot around the bases. Many assumed this was aimed at the Red Sox, but in fact he was upset with Manager Davey Johnson for taking him out of Game 6. With his team on the verge of winning the World Series, he was more concerned about answering a perceived slight. He just couldn't enjoy the moment. Such a shame.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '88, Strawberry led the NL in four offensive categories: home runs (39), slugging (.545), OPS (.911) and OPS+ (165). He added 101 RBI and 29 steals.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Drafted No. 1 overall in the '80 major-league draft.
  2. Reached the majors in '83 and won the NL Rookie of the Year with 26 homers, 74 RBI and 19 steals. The sky was the limit.
  3. Became the 10th 30-30 player in major-league history in '87, when he hit 39 homers and stole 36 bases.
  4. Finished second to Kirk Gibson for NL MVP in '88.
  5. After his eighth consecutive All-Star season in '91, his first year with the Dodgers, Strawberry fell off a cliff, done in by his substance-abuse. He hit as many as 24 homers only once in his final eight seasons.

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