Among the things Fuld was best-known for during his playing career was his defense, often putting his body in danger trying to make catches. Video of one of those catches, made when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, is in the link above.
But I remembered — and so did many of you — a great catch (and subsequent double play) he made in one of the very first games he played as a member of the Cubs in 2007.
I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve got video of that play, which happened Saturday, September 22, 2007 at Wrigley Field against the Pirates.
Let’s set the scene. The Cubs were still in a fairly tight divisional race entering that day; they led the NL Central by 1½ games over the Brewers with eight games remaining.
They entered the seventh inning of that game leading the Pirates 7-3. Scott Eyre had entered the game to pitch that inning. At the same time, Fuld entered the game in right field. It was his 10th MLB game; all but one of the other nine had been as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement.
Eyre retired the first Pirates hitter of the inning and then walked Nate McLouth.
With a 1-0 count on Nyjer Morgan, this happened:
“I didn’t even know where the runner was,” Fuld said. “I just had a feeling he’d be out there too far, so I didn’t even think twice about throwing to first. I just wheeled and threw.”
Fuld said his shoulder took the brunt of his collision with the wall, not his head.
“Maybe it’s good that I think I’m just stupid and [can] run right into the thing,” he said. “I’ve never had to deal with any ivy or brick wall before. Hopefully I can remain fearless.”
That’s just one of many plays Fuld made as a Cub that made him a fan favorite. The Cubs eventually won the game 9-5, increasing their division lead to 2½ games. They clinched the division title the following Friday in Cincinnati when they won and the Brewers lost in San Diego.
Congratulations again to Sam Fuld on his new position with the Phillies.