The Shmooze

Why We Love Super Sam Fuld (So What If He's Only Part-Jewish?)

By Aaron Yellin

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images

When we talk about Jewish athletes in American professional sports, we’re dealing with a very small spectrum. The only athletes at or near the top of their sports seem to be those Jews in baseball — where Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Braun and Ian Kinsler have all-star caliber talent.

But another name is creeping not just into the Jewish baseball discussion, but into the broader baseball discourse as well. And though he finished a modest 23rd in all-star voting for American League outfielders, the fact that Sam Fuld managed to get 1 million votes is a testament to what he’s been able to accomplish this year for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Fuld’s fascinating rise to prominence in 2011 is the subject of quite a few features, including a recent one by Ben McGrath in the The New Yorker. The Rays outfielder certainly makes for an interesting story. Fuld, whose small stature only adds to his underdog persona, spent much of his early career in obscurity with the Cubs. He was a late-season call-up in 2007, 2009, and 2010, but didn’t get a real chance to shine until he was traded to the Rays before the 2011 season and named their fourth outfielder. And just as Manny Ramirez’s steroid downfall forced him out of the game, Fuld was forced into it.

With everyday starts, Fuld thrust himself into baseball’s collective consciousness. His hot hitting in April was matched only by his amazing willingness to throw his body in any direction for a ball in the outfield, resulting in a slew of highlight-reel catches His most famous is the “Superman” catch which spawned the “Legend of Sam Fuld,” a veritable Twitter bonanza.

And while Fuld’s hitting has fallen off as the season has worn on, he has never stopped making incredible plays in the outfield. The abandon with which he goes after each ball has endeared him to many fans. (Those 900,000 plus all-star votes he received are a testament to that appeal.)

Fuld’s mother is Catholic, and though his father is Jewish, he was never bar mitzvahed. But that won’t stop Jewish fans from seeing him as an embodiment of relentless determination amidst the odds against them.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tampa Bay Rays, Sam Fuld, Baseball

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.