Sam Fuld was the Cubs’ 10th-round pick out of Stanford in 2004.
He made a steady march through the Cubs farm system, played briefly for the big-league club in 2007, then made the team as a backup outfielder in 2009, playing reasonably well that year, not so much the following year, and after the 2010 season he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays in the infamous deal that brought Matt Garza to Chicago.
Fuld wound up with an eight-year MLB career in which he hit .227/.307/.325 with 12 home runs and 67 stolen bases in 595 games. He was playing in the majors as recently as 2015 with the Athletics, but today, at age 39, he’s reached a milestone as an executive:
According to sources, Phillies will name Sam Fuld general manager. Former big leaguer has been in front office for several years with Phillies.— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) December 22, 2020
work closely with players, coaches, the front-office staff and the research and development department. They will help “integrate the use of information in all areas of on-field performance and preparation and make recommendations regarding the most effective areas of future research and analysis.”
Fuld has an economics degree from Stanford and is widely regarded around baseball as a really smart guy. In 2019, NBC Chicago reported that Fuld might be a candidate to succeed Joe Maddon as Cubs manager and he had previously interviewed for the Blue Jays managing position.
He was always a fan favorite as a Cub and best known for his defensive abilities, but perhaps his greatest defensive play came in 2011 with the Rays, in a game against the White Sox in Chicago:
Nine days after that in Tampa, Fuld deliberately passed up a chance to hit for the cycle:
Sam Fuld collected four hits for the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, becoming the first player this season with two four-hit games. The first was at Fenway Park, on April 11, when he came a single short of the cycle by doubling in his last at-bat.
“I’ve had people say, ‘You know, that’s why you’re a great player, you hold up the integrity of the game,’ and I just kind of laughed, because for me it was a no-brainer, and I think for anybody else it was a no-brainer,” Fuld said before Monday’s game. “That was an obvious double, and you just play the game the right way. Yeah, it would be more of a neat accomplishment to hit for the cycle, but ultimately it doesn’t really tell a whole lot.”
This is an excellent choice for the Phillies, a smart guy who knows the game well both from playing and his last four years in management.
Lastly, more than a decade ago on April 1, 2010, I wrote this April Fool’s Day post claiming Fuld had been traded to the Yankees for a PTBNL. Obviously, he hadn’t. Later that morning I received this email from Fuld’s cousin Dave Merrill:
Very funny post today, I have to admit you got me. If you knew how much Sam hates the Yankees, as a lifelong Red Sox fan, you would think it was even funnier. A part of me is a little sad as I am going to opening day at Fenway and would have loved to see him. Enjoy your site immensely, Go Cubs!
After I thanked Dave for his email, he said he’d sent the link on to Sam, and also Sam’s parents, Dave’s aunt and uncle.
Many congratulations to Sam Fuld on his new position!