Billy Graham Evangelism Association
Men’s Dinner with Darryl Strawberry
An eight-time Major League Baseball All-Star and four-time World Series Champion, Darryl Strawberry spoke to a sold-out crowd Friday evening at the Billy Graham Library’s Men’s Dinner, telling the crowd of 300 about his path to redemption through his relationship with Jesus Christ.
After battling addiction for much of his life and baseball career, Strawberry gave his life to Christ more than a decade ago and now serves as a pastor and speaker. He cited Billy Graham’s influence on his ministry, saying, “I learned how to preach the Gospel because of Billy Graham. [When I was called to the ministry] I started studying his books and listening to him as an evangelist who was called to win the lost. Billy Graham left such a great legacy, his legacy was Jesus Christ.”
Before accepting Christ as his savior, Strawberry admitted that he had given many excuses for ignoring God, but finally came to the point of surrender. “I didn’t want to be me anymore. I wanted to be in Christ,” he said. “I didn’t want to be Darryl Strawberry: great baseball player, who had troubles. No, I wanted to be redeemed and restored.”
About 300 people attended a sold-out Men’s Dinner, hosted by the Billy Graham Library, on Friday. They gathered in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) headquarters, located just behind the Library, to hear from famed outfielder Darryl Strawberry.
In 1980, Darryl Strawberry was a first-round draft pick out of Los Angeles. He went on to help the New York Mets (1986) and New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999) win World Series championships.
Darryl Strawberry became a Christian nearly a decade ago after battling a cocaine addiction. Friday, he said he had given so many excuses for ignoring God, but finally came to the point of surrender. “I didn’t want to be me anymore. I wanted to be in Christ,” he said. “I didn’t want to be Darryl Strawberry, a great baseball player, who had troubles. No, I wanted to be redeemed and restored.”
Lots of “amens” and head nods from the audience accompanied Strawberry’s time onstage during the Men’s Dinner. Many in the audience expressed an understanding of the kind of supernatural work God can do in a man’s life.
Standing in the BGEA headquarters in Billy Graham’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, Strawberry said Mr. Graham taught us about winning souls to Christ and growing the kingdom of God. Now 57, the All-Star runs Strawberry Ministries alongside his wife, Tracy. The couple has opened several rehabilitation centers for young adults, with a desire to help others find freedom in Christ.
The dinner wasn’t just a time to eat and talk around the table, but in true baseball fashion, a time for games.
Strawberry has seen his fair share of trials, from run-ins with law enforcement to surviving cancer. He quoted 1 John 4:4 to the room full of men: “…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” There are many things in life that will test your faith, he told the crowd, but “don’t give up.” Jesus has overcome them all, he added. Here, he prays with chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team.
There was prayer, opening God’s Word and also a little baseball trivia.
As someone who once struggled with addictions, Strawberry put a personal spin on the Bible story about the woman at the well and Christ’s reference to Himself as the Living Water (John 4:1-45). “Since I’ve been drinking this Living Water, guys, I have never been thirsty again.”
What’s a baseball game without peanuts? Even the centerpieces were themed in preparation for Friday’s speaker.
Strawberry wrapped up his talk giving glory to God for putting the broken pieces of his life back together. “You’re looking at the masterpiece of what God has done in my life,” he shared. Many of those who attended also took the time to browse a table full of items from Billy Graham’s collection related to baseball. The evangelist was a big fan of the sport and as a young man thought that he, too, might become a baseball player.