Sierra's off-season hobby takes roostTexas Rangers...

Off the beat

June 02, 1991

Sierra's off-season hobby takes roost

Texas Rangers outfielder Ruben Sierra spent the off-season learning a new sport: cockfighting.

"It's a lot of fun," said Sierra, who went into the high-stakes gamecock business with fellow Puerto Rican, outfielder Ivan Calderon of the Montreal Expos. The two own about 500 fighting roosters. Each says he has two champions, one named Tyson, after former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

Cockfighting is illegal in the United States, but legal and popular in Puerto Rico, Spain and Latin America. Bets are placed by spectators and owners of the gamecocks.

Calderon said he has a total investment of $30,000. Sierra said his investment is about $10,000. Sierra said he and Calderon sometimes bet thousands of dollars on fights.

"Sometimes we do $3,000, $5,000 or $8,000," Sierra said. "Just like the fans find a fighter they like and bet against the other people, we bet the owner of the other chicken."

Lucky for her

The number 13 has no negative connotations for the LPGA's Pat Bradley. She was the Player of the Year in 1986, her 13th season on the tour, and she recently won the Centel tournament, the 13th event of the season, which began May 13.

A man of his word

A day before Ben Johnson and archrival Carl Lewis ran in separate 100-meter races in Seville, Spain, Johnson assured reporters that he wouldn't run another embarrassing 10.54-second 100-meter race.

"I won't be running 10.5 all season long, that's for sure," Johnson said.

Johnson kept his word. Thursday night, he finished fifth in 10.69, more than one-tenth of a second slower than his time of the previous weekend and nearly a second off his drug-aided 9.79-second victory over Lewis in the 1988 Olympic Games Seoul, South Korea.

The price of fame

At a recent auction of sports memorabilia in San Francisco, Gil Hodges' 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers World Series ring sold for $20,900, and a Louisville Slugger bat signed by Joe DiMaggio brought $9,350.

Babe Ruth's signed 472nd home run ball from April 28, 1929, went for $12,600, and Stan Musial's 1948 home flannel jersey changed hands for $24,200.

The quote

NBC Sports executive producer Terry O'Neil, on the Magic Johnson-Michael Jordan matchup in the NBA Finals: "Even we probably couldn't screw this up."

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