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Treasure of the Sierra Ruben

Before we welcome Ruben Sierra in and out the same door through which Andres Galarraga and Bret Boone walked, we welcome him to the fold, at least temporarily, while gawking at a career that has produced a dozen walk-off RBI.

Sierra has been playing baseball long enough such that he impacted our favorite season, 1986, ever-so-slightly and we revel in the accomplishments in one particular game that year.

Bobby Valentine was managing the Rangers in 1986 when Sierra, then a raw rookie came through. Back then, Sierra was a wower, with a nifty combo of power and speed and a penchant for extra-base hits. He homered in his major-league debut on June 1 and became a Rangers regular pretty quickly.

Flash forward to August 25 in Arlington and a Monday Night Baseball matchup between fireballing youngsters Bobby Witt and Roger Clemens, who was bidding for his 20th victory for the Red Sox. For seven-and-a-half innings this was a pretty good battle, with the only runs coming in the fourth on RBIs by Rich Gedman and Bill Buckner.

Clemens had a two-hitter through seven innings and appeared on his way to that milestone win, until a sudden turn of events. With one out, Sierra reached on a weak infield single, which must have rattled Clemens a bit. The next batter was catcher Geno Petralli and he clubbed a two-run game-tying home run (only the second home run of his career). Clemens stuck around long enough to battle through a two-on two-out jam and though our wish was that he suffered a defeat, just knowing that he was no longer in line for victory that day is enough to give us solace now.

Dale Mohorcic wiggled through the bottom of the ninth and at this point, Boston manager John McNamara pulled Clemens for native Texan Calvin Schiraldi. The first two Rangers hitters fanned but Larry Parrish walked to bring Sierra to the plate. The subsequent drive by Sierra cleared the right field fence for a game-ending home run. It handed Schiraldi his first defeat of the season, albeit not his most significant one.

True Meterra know...Of Ruben Sierra's 12 walk-off RBI, four have come against the Blue Jays, a team that the Mets will not face in 2007.


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