The 54-year-old, four-time World Series champion discusses his former teammate Doc Gooden—their similarities and their differences
MAGGIE GRAY:Looking back, do you feel there were a lot of similarities between you and Doc?
DARRYL STRAWBERRY: We are two very different people, but the similarities were there. We have the same middle name, Eugene. He happened to wear 16 and I wore 18 for the Mets. We were two young, African-American players coming up to the big leagues around the same time. I won Rookie of the Year in 1983, and he came after me in 1984 and won it. So the comparisons are always there, but we are two very different people.
MG:Was there a time when you and Doc were both going through your struggles and you looked at him and said, "At least I'm not this bad?"
DS: No, I never thought that way. I never looked at anybody's problems like that. I think each of us knew we had some issues that we had to overcome. It was just like, "How do we get there?" We were young, famous and rich. Nobody could tell us anything, and they allowed us to do whatever we wanted to. You know, once you cross over to the major leagues, you're supposed to [instantly] become a man, but you're not. You're just a baseball player. You're not a man just because you're 20 years old and in the big leagues. You're still a kid, and you've got a lot to learn about life. I think we crossed over into a life that was really fast: the money, the temptations, the lights. It started off fun, but nobody thought that it would take us to the place it did. I don't think people realize how difficult it really became for us.
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"We were young, famous and rich. Nobody could tell us anything."
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