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.
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