Four-time World Series champion Darryl Strawberry shocked viewers of Celebrity Apprenticeon Sunday, when he became only the third person in Apprentice's nine-season history to quit the competition.
The retired MLB player, 48, says he only quit because of exhaustion due to a long year and a busy schedule. "I just hit a point where I was totally exhausted. I was running around and I just had nothing left in the tank," Strawberry said. "It wasn't anything personal. It wasn't about quitting."
Strawberry, whose 16-year baseball career included stints with both the New York Mets and the New York Yankees, said he sacrificed himself for the team. "Everybody was, you know, kind of throwing each other under the bus from time to time because nobody wants to leave," Strawberry said. "In my case, I figured I'll be the one to depart and let the team go forth. ... It wasn't about me. It was about the team. So I have no regrets."
Strawberry, who battled colon cancer following his retirement in 1999, said it was only because of host and executive producer Donald Trump's repeated invitations that he joined the show at all. Although he said Trump was "shocked" by his early exit, Strawberry insisted there were no hard feelings between them.
"I believe that Mr. Trump truly has a good feeling for me," Strawberry said. "He invited me back for the final two. I came back to help out in the last task. He thanked me for coming back and told me I was a good sport. And he also donated $25,000 to my charity [The Darryl Strawberry Foundation]."
Strawberry established the foundation in 2006 with his wife, Tracy, to help increase autism awareness. Strawberry's charitable work with the foundation is part of his new outlook on life following a string of drug-related incidents in the 1990s and 2000s. In 1999, Strawberry was sentenced to 21 months probation and community service for cocaine possession and soliciting sex from a woman posing as a prostitute. He entered drug rehab several times and served 11 months in jail from 2002 to 2003 for violating probation on the 1999 charges.
Beyond the Apprentice, Strawberry's future in reality TV looks doesn't look very promising. "I'm done," he said. "That's all they'll get me on is [Celebrity Apprentice], and that was because of Mr. Trump. It had nothing to do with anybody else."
Strawberry won't say who ends up in the final two, but he is clearly rooting for his now former teammates. "I hope one of the guys end up winning," Strawberry said. "No question. I mean I was never a part of the girl's team. If I would have been on their team, it'd have been a different story."
For the remaining contestants, he has only simple advice: "Have fun. Try not to be too hard on each other. And try not to show too much drama in their personalities," Strawberry said. "Because it makes celebrities look like they're very high maintenance and it makes some of the women look like they're just divas and also some of the guys."