Despite finding success during his inaugural season in Hollywood, former New York Met Darryl Strawberry leaving Queens during his prime.
Unfortunately for the Mets, good things don’t last forever as Strawberry departed for the Dodgers before the 1991 campaign, signing a five-year, $20.2 million contract.
During an interview with SNY on Tuesday, the eight-time All-Star called his move to Los Angeles the “biggest mistake of his career.” In addition, he also expressed his displeasure with Dodgers fans and admitted how different they were in the early-1990s compared to Mets fans.
“The fans are so different in New York than LA,” Strawberry explained. “LA fans come late and leave early. New York fans come early and never leave. They wait until the end of the game, whether you win or lose, and I was used to that.
“I was just more used to the aggressive fans and playing in New York City and letting people be over the dugout and yelling at you running across the field. And when you suck, they tell you you suck. And you look at them like, ‘Yeah, I do suck right now. I need to get better.’”
Even though the Mets only made the playoffs twice (1986 and 1988) during Strawberry’s tenure, the left-hander loved playing in Queens and was heartbroken when he ultimately left for the Dodgers.
“They want you to get better and that’s what I love about playing in New York,” Strawberry detailed. “It was heartbreaking leaving the Mets and that was the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career was leaving New York to go play in LA.”
Following his substance abuse problems, Strawberry’s tenure with the Dodgers was cut short after just three seasons. During that time, the two-time Silver Slugger award winner failed to stay on the field, playing in just 75 games from 1992-1993.
Although some Mets fans are too young to remember Strawberry’s glory days in Queens, he helped lead the team to their second World Series Championship in 1986. In particular, his best statistical performance in New York was during the 1987 campaign.
During that season, Strawberry received 640 plate appearances and produced 39 home runs (tied for career-high), 104 RBIs, .299 ISO, .412 wOBA, 15.2% walk rate, 19.1% strikeout rate, 159 wRC+ score, 5.5 fWAR ratings and a slashing line of .284/.398/.583/.981.
Before hanging up his cleats after the 1999 campaign, Strawberry signed with the New York Yankees in 1995 and spent five seasons in the Bronx. During that timeframe, he went on to win two World Series Championships, something Mets fans wish he was able to accomplish in Queens.