Darryl Strawberry: If I'd Known How Great A Player I Was, I Would Have Taken Better Care Of Myself

05/19/2015 10:28 am ET | Updated May 19, 2015

Darryl Strawberry has been called one of the most electrifying players in baseball. The right fielder was drafted right out of high school by the New York Mets, became Rookie of the Year in 1983, was voted to the All-Star Game eight times and played on four World Series championship teams. But despite reaching the pinnacle of success, Strawberry's career was often overshadowed by headline-making bad behavior that got the Mets Hall of Famer suspended three times from Major League Baseball.

Looking back on the highs and lows of his tumultuous career, Strawberry tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" that he is a completely different person today, and there are certainly things he would have changed about his priorities back then.

"If I really would have known how great I was as a player, I would have took better care of myself," he admits. "I would have got more rest, I would have went to bed at night. I mean, I hung out late nights and had to play the next day... and hit homeruns."

At his lowest, Strawberry says that off the field, he became a junkie, hung out in crack houses, served jail time and, at one point, wanted to die.

"I was very sick. And my drinking and my drugging and my amphetamines that I was taking... I was embedded in sickness for a very long time," he says.

From 1990 to 2002, Strawberry was arrested several times on charges ranging from drug possession to solicitation of sex. Ultimately, Strawberry began to see that his problems were too big for him to overcome on his own. "I just realized that I had been troubled so deeply and scarred so deeply inside that I really just needed to get help," he says.

On the surface, it may have been hard for people to understand how a successful professional athlete making upwards of $4 million a year could be battling such a sense of emptiness in his life, but the feeling was all too real for Strawberry.

"I had several moments of sitting around in my million-dollar homes and by the pools and stuff, and looking and saying, 'What does this all mean?'" he says. "I have a bunch of stuff -- got the homes, got the cars -- but [I] have no peace, have no joy."

Strawberry's path to wellness would begin with sobriety. He attended several different rehab programs, but continued to relapse and struggle with his addictions.

"I just wasn't ready. I was in denial," he says.

Then, things changed, and Strawberry found the path that would lead him to the life he has today, He and his wife, Tracy, are both ordained ministers, and he is also the co-founder of a treatment center in Florida.

"I got on this path of my life and really surrendered my life to God, and [started] living a real life away from all that stuff. It transformed my whole life," Strawberry says. "It made me the person that I am today."

"Oprah: Where Are They Now?" airs Saturdays at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

Darryl Strawberry
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