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Wednesday, July 9
Former Yankee, Met heard rumors while at Disney World news services

The source of the 'Darryl Strawberry's dead' rumor, which originated Tuesday on Wall Street, is not known. What is clear, however, is that Strawberry is alive and doing quite well at home in Florida.

He said so himself.

I am trying to start a foundation with my church that will work with kids to teach them about life and drug abuse.
Darryl Strawberry

Word that Strawberry, an eight-time All-Star who played for the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants, had been found dead in a Florida hotel room took New York, Tampa and the baseball fraternity by storm -- to the point, according to the New York Post, that the Yankees' switchboard was besieged by callers asking if the rumor were true.

"I am here in Orlando at the amusement park with my wife and children," Strawberry told the Post on Tuesday afternoon from Disney World. "I am fine."

Asked if he heard the rumor of his death, Strawberry told the Post that he had.

"I was at home [in Tampa] sitting on the couch with my kids when Ron [Dock] called me and told me," Strawberry said, laughing. "I don't know where that came from at all because I am fine.

"Everything has been good, real good."

Strawberry, 41, is involved with Dock, who works in the Yankees' system dealing with substance-abuse problems, on a daily basis. He attends meetings and talking to kids, according to the Post.

Strawberry was released from prison in April after serving 11 months of an 18-month sentence for violating probation on cocaine possession charges. He has battled substance abuse for years.

His imprisonment stemmed from a 1999 arrest in Tampa. He later pleaded no contest to the cocaine possession charge and received probation, which he violated six times.

When Strawberry was released, Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner had a job waiting for him at the franchise's minor-league complex working with young hitters and telling them about life's temptations.

Strawberry, however, believed he needed time away from the game in order to adjust to his freedom. Instead, he has been speaking to Boys & Girls Clubs in Tampa, the Post reported, and last week talked to 200 kids at the YMCA in St. Petersburg.

"I am trying to start a foundation with my church [Church Without Walls in Tampa] that will work with kids to teach them about life and drug abuse," Strawberry told the newspaper.

"Everything is going good with that and with me. I am fine."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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