New Hampshire Hardball

Fuld settles into new job

NOTE: The following story appeared in the Jan. 17 edition of the New Hampshire Sunday News. 

Back when the University of New Hampshire had a varsity baseball program and the late Chris Serino was the program’s head coach, Serino met with a reporter one day following an afternoon practice.

When the discussion turned to the team’s offense, Serino offered up the following: “The best hitter here is our bat boy, and he’s in eighth grade.”

Serino was known for having a good sense of humor, but he wasn’t trying to be funny. That bat boy? It was Sam Fuld.

For those unfamiliar with Fuld, he grew up in Durham, was a star outfielder at Phillips Exeter Academy and led Dover’s Post 8 to the 2000 American Legion state championship. He was projected as a very high draft pick — Baseball America rated him as the No. 19 high school player in the country during his senior year — but before the draft, Fuld informed major league teams that he was going to honor his commitment to Stanford University, where he was a two-time All-American and set the record for career hits in the College World Series.

Fuld played for four teams — the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Oakland Athletics (twice) and the Minnesota Twins — during an eight-year MLB career. He retired after the 2017 season and was immediately named the major league player information coordinator for the Philadelphia Phillies. His ascent in professional baseball continued when he was named the Philadelphia Phillies’ general manager last month.

“I always felt like this was an industry I wanted to stay in,” Fuld said last week. “It was a game I loved too much not to at least explore after playing. I gave other opportunities some thought, even recognizing getting into the baseball industry after your playing career doesn’t provide a ton of stability — or sometimes reward — and it creates a lot of stress. On the other hand there’s just so much that it provides, and it challenges me in so many ways I couldn’t pass it up.”

He said the GM offer came as a surprise — an opportunity that was completely unexpected.

“Just given the nature of the leap (in jobs within the organization), I wasn’t anticipating it,” he said. “I had spoken to (first-year team president) Dave Dombrowski a few days after he was hired. It was just an introductory talk. He was sort of making the rounds talking to various folks around the organization. I told him about myself and what I had done with the Phillies the last three years and that was it. Three days later, he asked me to interview for the GM role. That was on a Friday, then on Sunday I interviewed and Monday he offered me the job. It was a lightning bolt event. It was really quick.”

It had been an interesting offseason for Fuld even before he landed the GM job. He was a finalist to become the Boston Red Sox manager, but that possibility disappeared when the Red Sox rehired Alex Cora for their managerial position in November.

“I would say the whole process (with the Red Sox), from start to finish, took somewhere between three to four weeks,” Fuld said. “I heard from them through our group and decided that was an exciting opportunity for many reasons. The relationship I have with Chaim (Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom) from our Tampa Bay days, the quality of the organization I’d potentially be working for and the history that I had growing up around there. Decided to pursue it. Got down right to the very end. Went through one interview remotely then went to Boston for an interview in person. It was a great process, a great experience. Glad I did it.

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