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January 06, 2017

Like his fellow phenom Dwight Gooden, Strawberry won a Rookie of the Year award for the Mets and helped them win the 1986 World Series, but life in the fast lane eventually caught up to him, and a career that was supposed to culminate with a Hall of Fame berth instead resulted in a curt dismissal by voters.

The No. 1 pick of the 1980 draft out of Los Angeles' Crenshaw High School, Strawberry preceded Gooden's Rookie of the Year campaign of '84 by winning the award himself in 1983, when as a 21-year-old he hit .257/.336/.512 with 26 homers. That was the first year of an eight-year Big Apple run during which he averaged 32 homers, a 145 OPS+ and 4.6 WAR while making seven straight All-Star teams. By the end of that stretch, however, his troubles had come to the surface via a January 1990 trip to alcohol rehab following an altercation with his wife. A free agent after the 1990 season, Strawberry signed a five-year $22.25 million deal with the Dodgers, and put together another All-Star season in his first year back home, but he played just 335 games over the remaining eight years of his career—most notably as a prominent part-timer with the 1996, '98 and '99 champion Yankees—and spent most of that time battling cocaine, legal and health problems. While he finished with 335 homers and a 138 OPS+, his career was too short to draw serious Hall consideration, and he got just 1.2% of the vote in 2005.

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