Newly-released documents show that President Bill Clinton’s administration was watching how the Yankees handled troubled slugger Darryl Strawberry back in the 1990s.
In a June 1995 memo to Clinton, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel – now mayor of Chicago – shed light on the administration’s interest in the Yankees’ treatment of the slugger, who had substance abuse problems during his baseball career.
The memo said that frustrated White House drug policy chief Lee Brown had arranged a meeting with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner — after the Yankees signed Strawberry to a contract soon after the outfielder tested positive for cocaine in 1995, according to the government memo released as the Clinton Presidential Library continues to declassify documents from the Clinton era.
At the time, Steinbrenner had said he believed Strawberry was “worth saving.” A few days earlier, Brown said publicly, “The Yankees have struck out by signing Darryl Strawberry” because it suggested to young people that drug-users could be rewarded with lucrative sports contracts.
Brown, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy under Clinton, had made a list of demands for Steinbrenner.
First, Strawberry was to perform community service with young people. Second, the Yankees "setting up a franchise-wide standard," which wasn't fully explained. And, third, to have the Yankees organization donate to drug program recommend by Brown.
The Bill Clinton administration demanded the #Yankees help fight the war on drugs in 1995: pic.twitter.com/pOUXNzfm63
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) June 7, 2014
The Yankees did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment, including whether they ever met any of the administration demands or if Steinbrenner’s meeting with Brown took place.
The Yankees won two World Series with Strawberry in 1998 and 1999.