This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Baseball legend Darryl Strawberry dazzled fans on the diamond during his 17-year career. But many people do not know about Strawberry's tough childhood, which was anything but glamorous.

Darryl went "On the Record" about his new book "Straw: Finding My Way."


VAN SUSTEREN: Darryl, thank you very much for joining us. Happy to see you.

DARRYL STRAWBERRY: Good to see you, too, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Darryl, I want to start first with your help. I think we should probably start there since it is the most important thing to all of us ultimately, besides our families. How is your health?

STRAWBERRY: My health is great. That is the most important thing, like you said. I've had cancer twice, and I have recovered well. I have been cancer free for a good while now.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's great news. You have a new hot book out "Finding My Way" which I read.

And I do know some about you off the baseball diamond, but I'm watching you on the baseball diamond, you would think that you lead the most charmed life. Then you read the book, and things weren't so easy growing up.

STRAWBERRY: It wasn't a completely charmed life. When I think about it, and when I had to revisit it, I think that was the most important part. Of all the things I went through physically, emotionally, and just the way I was.

I'm quite sure you knew some of the stories when I struggled, Greta, and I think you saw some of them and you followed some of them. But I really had to learn a lot about myself over the years, and realize that I wasn't a bad person. I was just a person that was very lonely. I was a person that was very misunderstood personally through the public eyes.

I think writing this book, I really wanted to be able to give my view about who I am so people can really get a clear picture about me, and know some of the pains, you know, some of the pain I had deep down inside, and some of the scars that were left with me, that kind of dragged me into a life where I just did not care enough about myself.

VAN SUSTEREN: Darryl, you are so unbelievably fun to watch playing baseball. Then I read about the problems you had with your father growing up and what you and your brothers and sisters and your mother went through.

And I think how you go from a start like that, from -- it seems to me that I would be so discouraged, I could not get out on the baseball diamond and do what you did.

STRAWBERRY: I think because those situations were very, a lot of hidden agendas, which nobody really ever knew about my life. I think they only knew the fact that I put on a uniform. I was able to be successful wearing a uniform and doing the things I was doing.

But, see, you have to understand, baseball was an outlet for me, and it was an escape clause for my life, you know, sports, because the issues I went through as a young man were very difficult.

That night in our house when it almost came to an end -- and I tell everybody, it clearly could have happened where there could have never been a Darryl Strawberry, this great baseball player, because we came very close to doing some things as kids, me and my brother, in that situation that could have caused us a lifetime of regret.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know what you're talking about in terms of that night, because I've read your new book, but the viewers don't. Tell the viewers about that night with your father and your brothers.

STRAWBERRY: Actually, my father was a raging alcoholic. And it was one of those nights again where he actually came home, and he was very abusive to my mom.

And we all woke up. And my older brother Michael stepped to him and says, "Why don't you get out of here and leave us alone?" And then he pulled out a shotgun. And his threats were to all of us at that particular time that, "I will kill all of you guys."

That is when my brother Ronnie went into the kitchen and he grabbed a butcher knife, and I grabbed a skillet. And me and Ronnie had been beaten by him so many times, it was just a matter of time before we were able to explode.

And we knew at this particular time, the only person that was going to die that night was him. I was 13, Ronnie was 14, Michael was 15. And me and Ronnie knew this was over. We were going to kill him.

And some kind of way, my mom really forced us to get out of the house and go down to the neighbor's house down the street. And she did not want this to be no part of that. And she realized at that point, that was it for my father. That was the turning point for her. She was done with him. And she said, "No more. You're not going to hurt my kids, and you're not going to have my kids going through this kind of stuff."

VAN SUSTEREN: I have to talk baseball with you for a few seconds. Who do you watch now? Who is fun to watch? Not team, but what player do you love watching?

STRAWBERRY: I think the player I love more than anybody watching is Derek Jeter, because there was a guy I got a chance to know him in 1995 when he came over with the Yankees, and I was over there with the Yankees.

And to watch his life, you know. It is not about how great you are on the field. But to watch his life and the example, and what he is done with his career, is remarkable.

I could sit here and tell you, I am so proud to see a guy like him that I know that has had the opportunity to reach his stardom, but he did it the right way.

And that is what young players need to look at. Don't look at it, the great numbers are, where his numbers are, and stuff like that. Look at his life as an example.

And if you can pick somebody that you want to pick, I would pick a guy like Derek Jeter. His life is a complete example of what an athlete is supposed to live like and how he's supposed to run his life, and how his is supposed to take care of himself.

VAN SUSTEREN: Baseball player, dead or alive, going back in history, would you like to meet and talk to and talk baseball with?

STRAWBERRY: Probably someone like Robert Clemente. He was a guy that did wonderful things. And he is a prime example of what his life was like of giving back.

And that's one of the players that I never had an opportunity to meet, and what a great player.

But you look at the things that guys really do off the field and what's important. They separate themselves from the difference of just being a baseball player. The separate themselves and they show the human side. And I think that's what's really important.


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