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Ex-Rays OF “Super” Sam Fuld announces retirement, takes job in Phillies front office

By Marc Topkin
Sam Fuld making his "Superman" catch in 2011 for the Rays against the White Sox. [Times files]

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: Checked in with Sam, who is understandably excited about his new opportunity.

I asked him for the highlights of his playing career:

"Highlight moment: from a team standpoint Game 162 in '11, hands down. I don't think you'll ever see a set of circumstances like that again, and to be a part of it was special.

"Individually, I'd have to say my first game at Fenway (when he went 4-fo-6 and made a spectacular catch). The emotions of playing in the ballpark I grew up going to combined with having (by far) the best game of my career made that a really cool night, too."

As for playing with the Rays, after being acquired from the Cubs in the Matt Garza/Chris Archer deal:

"My time with the Rays was a turning point in my career. From the first day I put on a Rays uniform I felt comfortable and that I was a really valued member of the organization."

Fuld is looking forward to getting started with his new job, officially called "major league player information coordinator." Per the Phillies, he will work with the players, coaches, front office and research and development department to "integrate the use of information" for on-field performance and preparation and make recommendations for future use. As part of that, Fuld will spend time in the clubhouse and is likely to be in uniform during pre-game work.

DEVELOPING: OF Sam Fuld, who became a fan favorite for his hustling and fearless style of play with the Rays and three other clubs, has retired as a player and taken a front office job with the Phillies.

Fuld, 35, last played in the majors in 2015 with Oakland.

In videos posted on his @samfuld5 Twitter account, Fuld said playing eight years in the majors exceeded any "realistic goals" he had. "I really got to live my dream," he said.

Also, that he appreciated the support he got from the fans and that "the results may have been a little up and down but I hope they appreciate that I always gave it 100 percent."

Fuld had a number of highlight moments, including playing in the memorable Game 162 at the end of the 2011 season, but maybe none greater than the amazing diving catch he made for the Rays against the White Sox in Chicago on April 9, 2011.

I described the play this way in the Times as usually weak-hitting Juan Pierre laced a ball toward the rightfield corner:

Fuld, shifted toward center, started running and didn't stop until he skidded to a halt on the warning track — "prototypical Superman dive, I guess you can say," Fuld said — both knees and arms bloodied.

"I was screaming from center­field when he caught it," B.J. Upton said. "That's unbelievable. Great catch! It should be play of the year so far."

(Chicago's A.J.) Pierzynski, the 14-season veteran, said it was one of the best catches he had seen based on degree of difficulty alone.

"He ran, like, 50 yards to get to that ball," he said. "It was an incredible catch. I tip my hat to him, for one, he didn't kill himself on the fence, and two, he got there and made the play. It was an amazing play."

Fuld, who played bigger than his 5-foot-10, 180-pound frame, played three seasons with the Rays and parts of eight overall also with the Cubs,  Twins and A's.