Before the past two weeks, if you knew who Sam Fuld was, you knew he had bounced around the Chicago Cubs’ farm system, with occasional, brief trips to the bigs; if you knew more, you knew that he is famous for playing outfield with the sort of reckless abandon that led one writer to call him “a crash test dummy with a death wish.” But Fuld was in the right place at the right time this season: The Cubs traded him to the Tampa Bay Rays, and a few games in, the Rays suddenly found themselves in need of a starting outfielder when Manny Ramirez, faced with bad steroid tests, decided to retire. In came Fuld, and the rest, so far, has been history: In just eight games this season, he is hitting .321 (with an especially juicy .387 on-base percentage), and last night, in the Rays’ 16-5 demolition job of the 2-8 Boston Red Sox (the preseason favorite to win the World Series), he went four for six, with three RBIs and, most amazingly, he came only a single short of hitting for the cycle—that is, hitting a single, double, triple, and home run in one game.
Fuld, the son of a University of New Hampshire professor and a state senator (and second cousin of Lehman Brothers’ Dick Fuld, though don’t hold that against him), married his high school sweetheart (the high school being Phillips Exeter) and graduated Stanford as the Pacific 10’s all-time leader in runs scored. Kevin Youkilis, Ian Kinsler, Ryan Braun, Danny Valencia, and Ike Davis: Watch your backs.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.