Tomase: Could Sam Fuld go from Sox fan to Sox manager? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The Red Sox boast a rich history of locally grown general managers, from Dalton's Dan Duquette, to Brookline's Theo Epstein, to Lebanon's Ben Cherington, to Abington's Mike Hazen, to Weymouth's Brian O'Halloran.
Less common is the homegrown manager, but maybe Sam Fuld will be the exception.
A native of Durham, New Hampshire and a lifelong Red Sox fan, Fuld has emerged as a candidate for Boston's managerial opening. The 38-year-old is a hot commodity, thanks to a unique skillset. Not only did he spend parts of eight years in the big leagues as an undersized, high-flying outfielder, he's also a Stanford grad with an economics degree who has spent his post-playing career acting as a bridge between the Phillies' players and analytics department.
In an era when the numbers increasingly rule, Fuld is the rare managerial candidate who's as comfortable dissecting the sabermetrics as he is staring down a 95-mph fastball.
That makes him a man in demand. In 2018, he interviewed with the Blue Jays for their managerial opening, and last winter he declined opportunities to interview with the Pirates, Cubs, and Mets, per MLB Trade Rumors, choosing instead to focus on his role as Philadelphia's player information coordinator.
He took the job on the day he retired in 2017, hired by former Phillies skipper Gabe Kapler in order to, "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's connections to Chaim Bloom, Boston's chief baseball officer, date back to their days together in Tampa Bay, where Fuld made a name for himself as a speedy and fearless defender from 2011-13. Before joining the Red Sox, Bloom worked closely with Rays manager Kevin Cash, who has extensively integrated advanced metrics into his decision-making, perhaps to his detriment during Game 6 of the World Series, when he pulled left-hander Blake Snell with one out in the sixth inning.
Former players who understand numbers are increasingly the holy grail for front offices, which is how Cash, A.J. Hinch (another Stanford grad), and former Red Sox manager Alex Cora rose to prominence, to name three.
Fuld fits that mold. He also brings extensive playing experience after bouncing between the Cubs, Rays, A's, and Twins, hitting .227 with 67 steals in 598 games. He spent over 600 games in the minor leagues, and he plied his trade in Venezuela playing winter ball, too, for good measure. Like many a manager before him, he can relate to the last guy on the bench.
He needs no introduction to Fenway Park. His dad was a dean at the University of New Hampshire and his mom is an Amesbury native who served as a Democratic state senator. Fuld sported Nomar Garciaparra posters and attended games at Fenway Park growing up. He gave his family a thrill in 2011 when he made his first appearance there with the Rays and went 4-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. He could've hit for the cycle, but he kept running in the ninth inning on a Wall ball double.
His family probably thought nothing would ever professionally top that day, but who knows -- maybe someday soon, Fenway will be his office.