Ah, Darryl. If the trade of Mike Piazza symbolized the ham-fisted shortsightedness of the Fox regime in the late 1990's, certainly Darryl Strawberry's brief, frustrating tenure with the Dodgers earlier that decade was a bellwether for the last days of the O'Malley family's ownership of the Dodgers.
Back in the day, though, Darryl—who formed a "dream team" outfield with Eric Davis and Brett Butler—represented nothing but hope. (Sound familiar?) I fondly recall the man-crush both EK and I had on Darryl (thanks for the autograph, EK!). At one point I had a sweet Nike poster that pictured Darryl in the style of fruit crate label art. HOMEGROWN, it said.
Now Darryl is back in town—to plug his new book. Tim "The Hammer" Hammill, who most recently profiled bullpen catcher Rob Flippo, interviewed Strawberry for LAist. Let's cherry-pick a few choice pieces of Strawberry:
I was always concerned about the fans and had the love for fans because of what they mean to me.
Wow, you mean you really didn't mean that whole "Let it burn down" business?
The fans of New York have responded so well to me....I get so many fans in New York who will tell me that they loved watching me.
[Hammer:] What was your initial reaction when you realized you had the opportunity to come home and play for the Dodgers?
[Strawberry:] I thought it was great. I thought LA would be great for me, coming home and all. I also think that it was the biggest mistake I made in baseball. I'm pretty much a New York guy. I was accustomed to New York baseball fans and New York media. I think in LA, baseball was a little different for me, coming from New York. I was so used to the intensity level that the fans in New York have, in LA it was a more of a laid back atmosphere. They come late and leave early. That's not the case in New York.
What an entirely original sentiment.
Fun facts: Did you know Darryl played for the Giants? It's true:
Elsewhere: Darryl Strawberry Chronology (SI.com)
top photo courtesy of HarperCollins