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Why, Yes -- Tampa Bay Rays Left Fielder Sam Fuld IS Related to Former Lehman Bros. CEO Dick Fuld

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"Legends seldom, if ever, take hold as quickly as this one did," writes Ben McGrath in this week's New Yorker ($).

The legend in question is Sam Fuld, a 29 year-old left fielder for the Tampa Bay Rays who hit .350 last year, has an economics degree from Stanford, and yes, is related to Dick Fuld, as in Lehman Brothers Dick Fuld.

"This fearless overachiver -- 'Everyman,' as the Rays' manager, Joe Maddon, called him -- was a blue blood, too, the second cousin (once removed) of the ex-Lehman Brothers chief Richard Fuld."

This would be like White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling turning out to be Hair Club for Men president -- and client -- Sy Sperling's brother-in-law -- only the Fuld/Fuld connection is true.

The on-field exploits that made Sam Fuld a fan favorite are impressive, yes:

But, while anyone can catch a ball, no one can simply decide to become a Fuld.

Details regarding Sam Fuld's Fuld-ness are extremely light, but back in March, St. Petersburg (Florida) Times reporter Marc Topkin gave Sam Fuld-watchers a peek into his relationship with cousin Dick:

Oscar connection

Best documentary winner Inside Job, which details the Wall Street financial crisis, focuses in part on the actions of Lehman CEO Dick Fuld, who is a second cousin of new Rays OF Sam Fuld's father. Sam has never met Dick but, with an economics degree from Stanford, is obviously familiar with the story. "Now," he said, "I'm going to have to see the movie."

Then, there was Bill Parker of MLB's The Score blog, confirming the relationship (not that there was ever reason to doubt Mark Topkin, but when Dick Fuld and pro baseball are involved, everything's gotta be watertight) in May, with:

Sam Fuld is probably my favorite active baseball player, and has been since before this season started. He’s a little guy who has diabetes and was an economics major at Stanford. He used to work at Stats, Inc. He’s the son of a professor and state senator, and the second cousin of former (disgraced, more or less) Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld.

Sam Fuld is also one of the few baseball players about which a passage such as the following could be written:

St. Petersburg writer Scott Barancik, who, as editor of a Web site called Jewish Baseball News, has doggedly chronicled Fuld's exploits as one of just nine Jewish baseball players in the majors.

Barancik wonders if Fuld connects enough with devout Jews because as a professional ballplayer he "works" Friday nights and Saturdays. His father is Jewish, his mother is Catholic and growing up his family celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah.

"All this is to say for some Jewish people, a guy like Fuld is not Jewish enough," said Barancik, who is also a former St. Petersburg Times staff writer. "He'd be a great spokesman for Jewish causes, (but) I think his marketing opportunities are probably less on the Jewish side of things."

(There are actually ten Jews currently in the big leagues: Ryan Braun, Craig Breslow, Ike Davis, John Grabow, Ira Kinsler, Jason Marquis, Danny Valencia, Kevin Youkilis, Dick Fuld's second cousin, and Texas Rangers pitcher Scott Feldman, who is on the disabled list.)

In any case, Sam Fuld seems, by all accounts, to be a great guy, unsullied by his cousin's wicked DNA. It's exchanges like the following that could eventually make even Dick proud to be a Fuld again:

: Hi Sam, If i bring my #5 Sam Fuld tshirt to bp this afternoon would you please sign it?

I'll do my best. Yell really loud.

Ordering my Sam Fuld jersey now.

UPDATE: We have discovered a list of SAM FULD'S FIVE FAVORITE SUPERHERO MOVIES on the superb baseball blog, The Hall of Very Good.

They are:

1. Batman Begins (2005, directed by Christopher Nolan)

2. X-Men (2000, directed by Bryan Singer)

3. Dark Knight (2008, directed by Christopher Nolan)

4. Spiderman 2 (2004, directed by Sam Raimi)

5. The Incredibles (2004, directed by Brad Bird)
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