Sam Fuld

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Samuel Babson Fuld

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Biographical Information[edit]

Sam Fuld is a General Manager who was before that a major league outfielder for 8 seasons. He set the College World Series career hit record and was the Arizona Fall League MVP in 2007.

Fuld has overcome Type 1 diabetes to make it to the major leagues, even though he needs to inject himself with insulin every day. He has been active in promoting awareness of the condition and promoting participation in sports by those who suffer from the condition and helped to set up a diabetes sports camp with the University of South Florida.

Early life[edit]

Fuld is the son of Kenneth Fuld (Chairman of the Psychology Department at the University of New Hampshire) and (New Hampshire State Senator) Amanda Merrill. He got his start playing baseball when he and his grandmother played with wiffle balls. As a child, he was exposed to customs of both Judaism and Christianity, and he considers himself Jewish.

Fuld attended Berwick Academy as an eighth grader, and then transferred to and graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy. He was named a 2000 Preseason First Team All-American by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, USA Today, and Fox Sports, listed 19th among the 100 Top High School Prospects of 2000 by Baseball America, and selected the New Hampshire 2000 Gatorade High School Player of the Year. He was a four-time Central New England Prep School Baseball League All-Conference player. At Exeter, he was a three-time captain and four-time MVP of the varsity baseball team.

Fuld hit .613 as a high school freshman and followed with seasons of .489, .600 and .550.

College career[edit]

As a freshman, Fuld hit .357 with a .441 OBP and 56 runs and was picked as a second-team freshman All-American by Baseball America. He was an All-Pacific-10 Conference pick, joining Shelley Duncan, Chris Duffy, Ben Francisco and Carlos Quentin in the outfield. Fuld batted .396 in the postseasn as Stanford finished second in the country to the University of Miami. Fuld was named to the 2001 College World Series All-Tournament team.

Joining US's college national team, Fuld hit .310, second to Jeremy Reed on a squad loaded with future major leaguers. In 2002, Fuld hit .375/.426/.553 and was named as a first-team All-American by the ABCA, Baseball America and Baseball Weekly. He set a Stanford record with 110 hits. He finished 6th in NCAA Division I in hits, leading the Pac-10 Conference. He again made the All-Conference team. He led the #4 team in the country in average, finishing third in the Pac-10. He once again dazzled in the postseason, hitting .421 and slugging .789 with 6 runs in 4 games in the 2002 College World Series. For the second straight year, he made the College World Series All-Tournament team. He only hit .190 that summer for Team USA, worst of their starters, slugging .219. In the 2002 World University Championship, he batted .269/.296/.308 with a .779 fielding percentage for the Silver Medalists. During the 2002 Haarlem Baseball Week, Fuld was 4 for 16 with a double, 2 walks and an error.

Fuld hit .321/.399/.480 as a junior as his OBP fell for the third straight year. He did well in two areas though - runs (83, tied with Dustin Pedroia, Rickie Weeks and Stephen Drew for 4th in NCAA Division I) and triples (9, tied with three others for second in NCAA Division I). It helps you score when Ryan Garko, Carlos Quentin and John Mayberry Jr. are hitting after you. He failed to make the All-Pac-10 team that year. For the second straight year, he did not make an error in Conference games. He tied the school record for runs, sharing the Pac-10 lead with Pedroia, and tied for the Conference lead in triples with Jeff Van Houten. He homered twice in the 2003 College World Series as Stanford finished second but he did not make the All-Tournament outfield though teammates Quentin and Danny Putnam were both picked.

Fuld held the record for most hits in College World Series play from 2003-2009, when Dustin Ackley broke it.

The Chicago Cubs took Fuld in the 23rd round of the 2003 amateur draft but he opted to stay in college. In the Cape Cod League, he shone for ther Hyannis Mets, hitting .361/~.441/.445. He was second in the Cod League in average behind J.C. Holt and he made the All-Star team as an outfielder.

In 2004, the senior posted a declining OBP for the 4th straight year, batting .273/.388/.349 for the worst OPS of his college career. He had 7 outfield assists. He finished his college career with the most runs (266) and at-bats (1,054). He was second in Stanford history in hits (353) and games (256) and tied for third in triples (16). His batting line in college was .335/.416/.466. He had hit .358 in the College World Series and was the CWS record holder in career hits (24). He graduated with a degree in economics.

Professional career[edit]

Chicago again took Fuld, in the 10th round of the 2004 amateur draft. He was signed by scouts Steve Hinton and Steve Fuller and debuted professionally with the 2005 Peoria Chiefs. He batted .300/.377/.433 with 82 runs and 18 steals in 29 tries, just missing the top 10 in the Midwest League in batting average.

In 2006, the left-handed flyhawk again hit an even .300. His OBP wemt up one point and his slugging went down one. His base-stealing was much better with 22 successes in 25 tries. He did not get enough plate appearances to qualify for the Florida State League title or he would have ranked 5th, between Robinzon Díaz and Cody Ehlers.

Fuld batted .290/.372/.388 in 90 games for the Tennessee Smokies, then .269/.397/.442 in 14 for the Iowa Cubs. He was a September call-up to Chicago. He debuted as a defensive substitute for Alfonso Soriano and did not handle a chance that game. In his next game, he pinch-ran for Cliff Floyd and scored on a Soriano homer. He did not get a plate appearance until his 9th game, when he pinch-hit for Kevin Hart against Franquelis Osoria and grounded out to Osoria. He was 0 for 3 with 3 walks in 14 games for the 2007 Cubs, mostly being used as a pinch-runner and defensive sub (9 putouts, one outfield assist).

That winter, Fuld played in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .402/.492/.626 for the Mesa Solar Sox. He was second in the AFL in average, 5 points behind Corey Wimberly but led in both OBP and slugging. He tied for third in walks (17), tied for 4th in steals (10), tied for 3rd in runs (20), led in hits (43) and led in doubles (11). He was named AFL MVP and also won the Dernell Stinson Sportsmanship Award, becoming the first player to do both in one year.

As a result of his winning the Stinson Award, he was given $500 to donate to the charity of his choice. He opted for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund as he had been diagnosed with diabetes when he was 10 years old.

Fuld had a rough 2008. He failed to parlay his fall stardom into spring training success and did not earn a spot on the Cubs' 25-man roster. He then hit just .222/.310/.317 in 20 games for Iowa, earning a demotion back to West Tennessee. There, he batted .271/.366/.381 but was just 7-for-15 in steal attempts.

Fuld spent the winter with the Tigres de Aragua and hit .322 with a .425 OBP as their leadoff man. He then batted .288 in the playoffs to help Aragua win the Venezuelan League title, going on to the 2009 Caribbean Series (which Fuld skipped).

Sam began 2009 back with Iowa, but was back with the Cubs towards the end of the season.

Moving to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 as part of the trade that sent P Matt Garza to the Cubs, Fuld found regular playing time in the outfield. He quickly endeared himself to hometown fans with his all-out style of play, including frequent dives and crashes into outfield walls. When teammate Manny Ramirez retired ignominiously following a failed drug test early in the season, the Rays canned a planned promotion to give away a Manny bobblehead doll, replacing it with a "Sam Fuld Superman Cape" instead. In an unusual situation, he was used as a pinch hitter for the Rays' pitcher with his team holding a 7-run lead in an interleague game against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 20th. As manager Joe Maddon did not have the man he wanted to use on the mound, Cesar Ramos, properly warmed up to pitch the upcoming 8th inning, he asked Fuld to go to the mound and to begin to take warm-up tosses as if he intended to to pitch. With the Brewers wondering what was up, Maddon then visited the mound and informed umpire Jerry Layne that his "pitcher" was feeling sore and would need to be replaced before the inning began in earnest. Fuld left the mound, and the now warmed-up Ramos took over. It helped that Brewers manager Ron Roenicke and bench coach Dale Sveum had both been ejected from the game earlier and were not there to protest the dubious substitution. The following off-season, Major League Baseball changed rule 3.05 to prevent such shenanigans, prohibiting a manager from "sending his current pitcher out to warm up with no intention of having him pitch because a relief pitcher is not ready to enter the game." Maddon then proposed that the new rule be named the "Sam Fuld rule" in honor of the player who made it necessary. Fuld played 105 games for the Rays that season and was their most-used leftfielder, although by the end of the year young Desmond Jennings had claimed the starting job. Fuld hit .240/.313/.360, with 18 doubles, 3 homers and 20 steals.

Fuld got a chance to pitch for real in 2013, entering a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on September 2nd with two on and two out in the 8th inning. He fell behind 3-1 to J.B. Shuck before inducing him to fly out to center field to end the inning. The Rays were trailing 11-2 at that point, and as they went down quietly in the top of the 9th, Fuld did not get a chance to pitch any further in the game. He was the third non-pitcher to take the mound in Tampa Bay history, following Wade Boggs and Josh Wilson. He played 119 games that season, but only accumulated 176 at-bats. He hit .199/.270/.267; in a statistical quirk, of his five extra-base hits, 3 were triples and 2 homers, but none doubles. He made a couple of appearances in the postseason, striking out in his only at-bat when Tampa Bay defeated the Cleveland Indians in the Wild Card Game, and then scoring a run as a pinch-runner in Game 3 of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox: 1B James Loney had led off the bottom of the 8th with a walk, and Fuld took over for him, eventually scoring the go-ahead run on Dmitri Young's infield out. He then took over in right field in the 9th as the Rays made a number of defensive changes and was in the on-deck circle when Jose Lobaton ended the game with a walk-off homer off Koji Uehara in the bottom of the 9th.

Fuld became a free agent following the 2013 season and was in the Oakland Athletics camp as a non-roster invitee in 2014. He made the opening day roster, but after only 7 games of hitting .200, he was placed on waivers and claimed by the Minnesota Twins on April 20th. He gradually managed to elbow his way into the starting line-up there, as he hit .270 with an OBP of .370 in 53 games. The A's were suitably impressed an on July 31st reacquired him, giving up P Tommy Milone, who had pitched quite well but had been rendered supernumerary after the A's acquired a number of established starting pitchers via trades in the preceding weeks. He hit .210 in 53 games for Oakland after the trade, to finish the season at .239/.321/.342 in 113 games between the two teams. He played in the epic Wild Card Game that the A's lost to the Kansas City Royals, going 2 for 5 with a walk and a run scored. He returned to play one final major league season in 2015 and got into 120 games, although not a regular. He had 290 at-bats and hit .197 with 2 homers and 22 RBIs for the Athletics. He played his last game on October 4th and retired after the season.

He did return to play for the Israeli national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, their first World Baseball Classic, batting leadoff and playing center field.

Post-playing career[edit]

On December 22, 2020, he was named the General Manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, being hired by new team President Dave Dombrowski, who had himself just come onboard. He was the second former player to accede to the GM ranks that offseason, joining former pitcher Chris Young who had been hired by the Texas Rangers a few weeks earlier. While not an Ivy Leaguer like Young, his educational background was quite similar, given he had attended one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country before going to Stanford, considered equivalent to Ivy League schools by most observers. Another former player, Jorge Velandia, was promoted assistant GM from within the organization, while veteran executive Terry Ryan was brought on as an adviser. Dombrowski cited Fuld's familiarity with analytics as a major reason for his selection. Since his retirement, he had been working for the Phillies as their major league player information coordinator, a job that basically consisted in translating information obtained by the analytics department into information that could be usable in games for manager Gabe Kapler. He had also been approached by various teams seeking to fill managerial vacancies, but had turned them down.

Preceded by
Matt Klentak
Philadelphia Phillies General Manager
Succeeded by

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • 2000: Preseason 1st Team All-American
  • 2000: 19th on Baseball America's 100 Top High School Prospects list
  • 2000: New Hampshire Gatorade High School Baseball Player of the Year
  • Set all-time College World Series record for career hits
  • 2001: Freshman 2nd team All-America OF
  • 2001: Pac-10 Conference All-Star OF
  • 2002: 1st team College All-American OF
  • 2002: College World Series All-Tournament Team OF
  • 2002: Pac-10 Conference All-Star OF
  • 2003: Summer League First-Team All-American OF
  • 2003: Pac-10 Conference All-Star OF
  • 2006: Florida State League Player of the Week (5/21)
  • 2006: Topps Florida State League Player of the Month (5/31)
  • 2006: Florida State League All-Star OF
  • 2007: Arizona Fall League Player of the Week (10/30)
  • 2007: Arizona Fall League Top Prospects Team
  • 2007: Arizona Fall League Dernell Stenson Award
  • 2007: Arizona Fall League Most Valuable Player
  • 2008-09: Baseball America All Winter League Team


Further Reading[edit]

  • Todd Zolecki: "Fuld 'really ecstatic' to be new Phillies GM",, December 23, 2020. [2]

Related Sites[edit]