Former Baseball Star Darryl Strawberry Opens Rehab Center, Supports Alex Rodriguez

By McCarton Ackerman 01/24/14

Having conquered his addictions to cocaine and alcohol, the former All-Star has given some hope to those looking to achieve sobriety.

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Alex Rodriguez has found an unlikely ally in Darryl Strawberry. The former baseball star and drug addict has now found what he believes in his true calling in life: helping substance abusers. Strawberry will be in Florida tomorrow to open The Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center in St. Cloud. The former MLB star said he could relate to how addiction can drive professional athletes from their sport of choice and hoped Rodriguez can get back on track.

"You can get addicted to steroids just like any other drug,” said Strawberry. "A drug is a drug, and it's unfortunate drugs have been around sports forever. Look at some of the great players in the Hall of Fame. Who are they kidding? In their time and era, they did drugs. Greenies and amphetamines are drugs, too."

Strawberry also said he supported the current lawsuit of Rodriguez to have his 162-game suspension overturned for doping, the longest in the sport’s history, believing that MLB commissioner Bud Selig is singling him out. "The Commissioner is wrong. I think it's unfair,” he said. “One player is not the problem for something that's been in the game (for a long time.) Multiple players have been allowed to go about their business, but now you want to punish one player for all the others that came before and after him."

The MLB has accused Rodriguez of using three different performance-enhancing drugs in a three-year period and having ties to the former Biogenesis clinic, which allegedly supplied steroids to at least a dozen pro players. A new 34-page report contains extensive doping allegations against him that include secret meetings and coded language to obtain performance enhancing substances.

Meanwhile, Strawberry has been clean and sober for 11 years after well-documented addictions to cocaine and alcohol that led to three suspensions for substance abuse during his own pro career. He is now looking to open up two more rehab centers and help as many people as possible beat their addictions. "The spikes are in a box, the bat is retired but the true passion and purpose for my life is just beginning," he wrote on his website. "That passion is being able to make a difference in the lives of others. Today I have hope, a hope I want to instill in others."

Watch Darryl Strawberry speak of his career, substance abuse and turbulent relationship with his alcoholic father:

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.