“I always wanted to be a professional baseball player and was greatly inspired not only by a promise I had made to my mother before she died, but also by my father, a former welterweight boxer. His great sense of self confidence, optimism, will power, determination and pride were pillars that guided me all through my baseball career and are still a main thrust of support in my life. He always said to me, ‘You are what you want to be and not what you can be.’ Also, he said, ‘Make sure that you do your best and be prepared to deal with the fans because sometimes the ones that give you a standing ovation one minute may boo you the next.'”
In 1959, Sierra signed with the Washington Senators; however, he was drafted that same year in the U.S. Army. After his tour of duty ended in 1962, Sierra played with the Minnesota Twins until 1966. From 1967-1969, he pitched in the Provinciale League, in Quebec, Canada. In 1969, Sierra led the league in wins (14), shutouts, (4), was selected to the All Star game three consecutive years and was the team’s MVP. At the end of the season, Washington Senator’s manager Ted Williams gave him a tryout. Sierra was signed the same day. After going to spring training and being assigned to the Pittsfield AA baseball team in the Eastern League in 1970, Sierra finally joined the Senators as a batting practice pitcher at the end of the season. He said, “This was very upsetting since I was one of the five pitchers in the whole organization that had won 10 or more games.”
In 1976, Sierra began working for the Department of Recreation in Montgomery County, Maryland. He was instrumental in assisting troubled youth and their families in the delinquency prevention program and in helping Cuban refugees entering the U.S. during the 1980 Cuban Refugee Crisis. In addition, Sierra developed “Get High on Sports,” a drug prevention program for youth. Being bilingual and bicultural, Sierra has been a mediator for the Montgomery County Public Schools to ease cultural conflicts. In addition, he served six years as the chairman of the Maryland Governor’s Commission of Hispanic Affairs and was the first Hispanic Commissioner in the Maryland Governor’s Commission on Drugs and Alcohol.
Since 1996, Sierra has been the Director of the Upper County Community Center, in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Despite his professional responsibilities, Sierra still has time for baseball.
He was a pitching instructor for Collegiate Sports from 1992-1995. In 1993, he participated in the filming of “Major League II” as a coach for the White Sox. And, since 1993, Sierra has been a pitching coach for Essex Community College, near Baltimore, Maryland.
Awards, Honors, Titles, Championships, Schools, Colleges:
- East-West All Star Game (Pitcher) – 1956
- U.S. Army Championship (17-5, 1.75 E.R.A.) – 1961
- Dow Award Team’s Best Pitcher (11-3, 1.76 E.R.A.) – 1967
- Provinciale League’s Most Winning Pitcher (14-3) – 1969
- Team’s MVP Award (Provinciale League) – 1969
- Provinciale League’s MVP Runner-Up – 1969
- Provinciale League All Star – 1967-1969
- Panama’s Winter League All Star – 1971
- Dominican Republic’s Cibao Summer League – 1976