Routine Moments in Baseball History: Ruben Sierra, Sex Symbol, Scores a Run

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Routine Moments in Baseball History: Ruben Sierra, Sex Symbol, Scores a Run

A brief meditation on the slugger's career and musical gifts.
July 31, 2014, 5:19pm

Welcome back to Routine Moments in Baseball History, a running weekday feature that looks back at plays that have been ignored by the history books because history books only talk about things that are important or interesting. Today's installment is "Ruben Sierra, Sex Symbol, Scores a Run."

In the bottom of the second inning of a July 31, 1992, game against the California Angels, Texas Rangers outfielder Ruben Sierra scored from second on a Juan Gonzalez single. That's what it says in the box score, anyway, but let's go beyond the dry facts here and imagine Ruben Sierra at 27 years old, in his physical prime, moving through the dry Texas air. This is a worthwhile thing to imagine, because he probably looked pretty dang good.

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I'm not talking about the late 90s and early 2000s edition of Ruben Sierra, who was a designated hitter's designated hitter, a slab of muscle with a powerful swing who broke into a jaunty trot whenever he sent a ball 400 feet into the stands, a bat-for-hire who roamed the American League, mostly bouncing between the Rangers and the New York Yankees. I'm also not talking about the Ruben Sierra of the stat sheet, a very good hitter with a few great years who racked up 1,322 RBIs and 306 home runs over a 20-year career split between nine teams. I'm talking about the 1992 version of the man, a six-foot tall hunk who looked like he was chiseled out of, uh, whatever the sexiest type of Puerto Rican rock is. I mean:

This was a dude who in his spare time recorded three records of smooth latin music on which he crooned a variety of things in Spanish and also posed on one album cover shirtless and leaning up against an old pickup truck as if to say, "Hello, I'm Ruben Sierra. The mustache is real, by the way. Do you want to touch it? Don't be afraid, you can. It's very soft, isn't it? What's your name? What's your friend's name? You are both very beautiful."

Professional baseball players can have all sorts of bodies—they can be scrawny or gawky or flabby or downright fat. If you saw Ruben Sierra, though, there would have been no doubt in your mind that this here was an athlete. Watching him run up close would have made you distinctly aware of your own body and its limitations, your bad knees and your inability to lift anything heavy above your head. He was known for his power, but in his youth he was fast enough to hit 14 triples in 1989 and steal 25 bases in 1993. Such was his physical promise, the raw ability practically oozing out of his pores, that in the early 90s people were talking about him reaching the 3,000 hit club someday; it wasn't ridiculous for him to be the centerpiece of a trade that brought the Oakland Athletics' Jose Canseco to the Rangers in August 1992.

So he would have been hustling to get from second to home on that Juan Gonzalez single on the day in question, but he would have made the run look easy, almost effortless. And he would have made it look good.

This has been Routine Moments in Baseball History. Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter.