The athletic careers, to this point, of former baseball star Darryl Strawberry and current football debate-starter Tim Tebow could not be more different. Strawberry, with all the talent in the world, hit 335 home runs. However, he battled addiction twice and partied hard throughout his time on the diamond.
That being said, a team was always willing to give him yet another chance, because of all of that ability of his. Tebow, on the other hand, has hardly been known to enjoy a Fourth of July Budweiser, let alone curse or try any drugs. The former Heisman winner nearly found himself out of the league before the Patriots signed him to a minimally-monied contract recently.
Time and again in Strawberry’s life, talent won out over behavior; the game won out over actually taking the time to make himself a better person.
Now an ordained minister who works closely with others suffering from addiction, Strawberry admits that he wishes he was more like Tebow when he was younger. He uses the example of former Mets teammate Gary Carter as well.
“I wish I could have been like a Gary Carter or a Tim Tebow when I was playing,” Strawberry tells Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Strawberry and Carter were teammates on the 1986 World Series champion Mets, “and have Christ in my life the way I do today. When Carter left here, he left here as a right man, a righteous man, who lived his life right. He loved his faith.
Carter, teased by Strawberry and other New York teammates for bypassing the hard-partying lifestyle, passed away from brain cancer in 2012.
“I look at Tebow. He gets bashed because of his faith. Let ’em laugh. Let ’em talk. He’s a greater man than anyone who might be greater than him as an athlete. He’s a real man.
“He gets challenged about his faith all of the time, but he never wavers because of opinions, or what the media is writing about him. His reward later on in life is going to be even greater because he stood in the midst of everybody criticizing him being a Christian and playing sports at the same time.
“I admire him more than he could ever imagine.”