Why Darryl Strawberry Says Leaving Mets Was 'Biggest Mistake' of His Career

John Healy
May 20, 2020 - 10:18 am
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Darryl Strawberry wishes he never left the Mets.

The former eight-time All-Star acknowledged that leaving the Mets for the Los Angeles Dodgers in free agency in 1991 was “the biggest mistake” he made in his career during an interview with SNY on Tuesday.

“It was heartbreaking to me to leave New York,” Strawberry said. “I was so used to Met fans and what New York fans were all about. Becoming a free agent, you let a player get down to the free agent market and test the free agent market, he’s going to test it. I didn’t want to get to that place, but I got to that place and was very saddened about the fact I had to leave New York.”

Strawberry, who was an integral part of the 1986 Mets World Series championship team, was one of the most feared sluggers in the majors while he was in Queens. He hit 252 of his 335 career home runs with the Mets and made seven of his eight All-Star teams in New York.

His success led to a five-year, $20.25 million contract to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers, but returning home was not the same for Strawberry.

He had just one All-Star season in 1991 before injuries and battles with substance abuse derailed what was once thought to be a Hall of Fame career.

Despite all that, Strawberry said he actually missed the love-hate relationship with New York fans the most once he arrived in LA.

“The fans are so different in New York than LA,” he said. “LA fans come late and leave early. New York fans come early and never leave. They wait until the end of the game, whether you win or lose, and I was used to that. It was different in California because it was kinda laid back. Nothing against the Dodger fans and LA fans, they are just a little more laid back.

“I was just more used to the aggressive fans and playing in New York City and letting people be over the dugout and yelling at you running across the field. And when you suck, they tell you you suck. And you look at them like, ‘yeah, I do suck right now. I need to get better.’ And they want you to get better and that’s what I love about playing in New York. But it was heartbreaking leaving the Mets and that was the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career was leaving New York to go play in LA.”

Of course, Strawberry returned to New York in 1995, but as a member of the Yankees where he won three more rings as a role player/designated hitter.