Friday, November 7, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #158 RUBEN SIERRA

ADDED MUSCLE HURT MORE THAN IT HELPED.


FAILS THE EYE TEST WITH FLYING COLORS.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Ruben Sierra was the prototypical Latin American prospect emerging from the late 1980s: a lanky hacker possessing good power and speed with sky-is-the-limit talent. Then overnight this gifted switch-hitter with the pronounced leg kick became a muscle-bound behemoth who would wind up with a negative WAR in 10 of his 20 major-league seasons. Sierra bounced around with nine teams, some of which you probably never knew he wore their uniform (White Sox, Reds, Twins, anyone?). He hit 306 homers, drove in 1,322 runs and slashed .268/.315/.450.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • After being called up from the minors by the Rangers in June '86 as a 20-year-old, Sierra quickly established himself as a future star, especially on Sept. 13 against the Twins. He became the youngest player in major-league history to swat homers from both sides of the plate. He took Bert Blyleven deep from the left side and Bill Latham from the right in the 14-1 victory. #122 Eddie Murray previously was the youngest at age 21. Topps commemorated the achievement with an '86 Record Breaker card from the '87 set. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • Sierra finished runner-up to #192 Robin Yount for AL MVP in '89, leading the league in RBI (119), triples (14), slugging (.543) and total bases (344). He hit 29 homers and batted .306, the first of only two times he surpassed .300.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Made his major-league debut against the Royals and hit a three-run homer in his second at-bat off Charlie Leibrandt.
  2. Sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in '86, hitting .264 with 16 homers and 55 RBI.
  3. Drove in 100-plus runs in three of his first six seasons with the Rangers.
  4. On Aug. 31, 1992, he was dealt, along with Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell, to the Athletics for #99 Jose Canseco, a trade that sent shock waves through the league.
  5. Earlier this year, former manager Bobby Valentine said in a radio interview that he suspected Sierra was using performance enhancing drugs when they were both with the Rangers. Holy crap! Stop the presses!

THE SKY WAS THE LIMIT IN '86.

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