Strawberry: “It’s so much easier to be in the big leagues today”

Darryl Strawberry
Photo credit USA Today Images

Darryl Strawberry was one of the most talented baseball players of his generation. He was NL Rookie of the Year in 1983, an eight-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and a four-time Word Series champion as a member of the New York Mets and New York Yankees.

Strawberry wasn’t just one of the best players in the game; he played with, and against, some of the greatest players of all time. 

But at 58, more than two decades removed from his playing days, Strawberry thinks the game – and the Hall of Fame – have become watered down.

“You don’t want to come against any player,” Strawberry told JR SportBrief. “Every player that goes out there, they put their heart into what they’re doing. I just think the talent level is not what it used to be. Bonds and Clemens, those guys should be in the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame, too, one day. The players of [our] time [when] we played were players that you come to the ball park and you was like, ‘I got to watch these guys play because these guys are really good and they do special things every night.’”

Mike Schmidt. Rickey Henderson. George Brett. Wade Boggs. Dale Murphy. Barry Bonds. Roger Clemens. Ken Griffey Jr. Frank Thomas. Derek Jeter.

The list goes on.

“I just think the player level is just not at the same [level] as it was,” Strawberry said. “I think it’s so much easier to be in the big leagues today. You don’t have to be a guy that is productive. You can be on the bench, and you could be making $10 million sitting on the bench. You couldn’t do that in our days; $10-million players were on the field. So it’s a different time. It’s a different ball game.”

Strawberry also discussed Darryl's Monument Live, an exclusive virtual talk in which he will discuss sobriety and how it has changed his life. The free talk begins Thursday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. ET.

Click below to listen to Strawberry’s interview in its entirety.