This Day In Dodgers History: Darryl Strawberry Signed To Contract

On November 8, 1990, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Darryl Strawberry to a five-year, $20.25 million contract that made him the second-highest player in MLB at the time.

Strawberry trailed only Jose Canseco, who had a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Oakland Athletics. His landmark signing represented a homecoming for the Los Angeles native and brought an end to a turbulent career with the New York Mets after eight seasons with the team.

The Mets selected Strawberry with the first overall pick in the 1980 MLB Draft. He won National League Rookie of the Year in 1983, two Silver Slugger Awards and earned seven consecutive All-Star Game selections while with the Mets.

However, Strawberry’s final year in New York was marred by frustration and failed contract negotiations. He earned a $1.8 million salary for the 1990 season and rejected multiple contract offers.

The first was the Mets extending a three-year, $9.2 million extension in July 1990. Then during free agency, they presented Strawberry with an offer of four years and $15 million.

After signing with the Dodgers, Strawberry said he felt the Mets never presented a contract offer that made it clear they had interest in keeping the former Rookie of the Year winner.

In his eight years with the Mets, Strawberry batted .263/.359/.520 with 187 doubles, 30 triples, 252 home runs and 733 RBI. He never had a season of fewer than 26 home runs and 74 RBI, and in 1990 set a then-Mets record with 108 RBI.

Dwight Gooden, one of Strawberry’s closest friends on and former Mets teammates, was also critical of the team for how matters unfolded.

With his Dodgers contract, Strawberry received a $1.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $3.5 million in 1991, $3.75 million in 1992, $3.5 million in 1993, $3 million in 1994 and $5 million in 1995.

Darryl Strawberry stats with Dodgers

Although Strawberry moved to center field and vowed to be different from the perception that had taken hold, his tenure with the Dodgers fell well short of expectations.

After a successful first season with the team, Strawberry underwent back surgery in 1992 and later dealt with controversies and distractions.

In May 1994, Dodgers bought out Strawberry’s remaining contract to end his time with the franchise. Strawberry had been paid $852,400 up to that point in the season and was owed just over $7 million for the rest of 1994 and the final season of his contract.

Strawberry played in 214 games for the Dodgers, batting .243/.340/.445 with 32 doubles, 38 home runs and 136 RBI. His production in Los Angeles tailed off after an All-Star season in 1991.

Well before signing with the Dodgers, Strawberry snapped their streak of Rookie of the Year winners at four in 1983.

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