BOSTON — Sam Fuld grew up an avid Red Sox fan, attending dozens of games at Fenway Park as a kid.
"I had Nomar Garciaparra posters (in my bedroom)," he said. "I had Roger Clemens posters. I was a typical Red Sox fan like anybody else in New England."
The 29-year-old Durham, N.H. native, whose two favorite players growing up were Garciaparra and Wade Boggs, always dreamed of one day playing at Fenway Park himself.
"I think any kid growing up in this area, it's a dream of theirs," Fuld said. "I never thought it would come true. I was always pretty realistic. I was a short, little outfielder. I thought at best I'd get a chance to play some sort of professional baseball. But to actually come here and play, it exceeded all my expectations."
Fuld, the son of a New Hampshire state senator, Amanda Merrill, lived out his dream and even more Monday night. He made his Fenway debut and possibly had one of the best Fenway debuts that anyone has ever had.
Fuld went 4 for 6 with a two-run homer, three runs scored and three RBIs. He was a single short of hitting for the cycle. He actually hit a double off the Green Monster in the ninth inning and he could have stopped at first to complete the cycle but he didn't think that would have been right.
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon tweeted after the game: "Speaks to Sam's integrity that he didn't stop at 1st to get the cycle in the 9th. It's what he's all about."
It is what Fuld is all about.
He worked hard to get to the majors, as he isn't very big (he is listed at 5-10, 180 pounds but is probably about two inches smaller) and he also has had to deal with diabetes.
He was diagnosed with the disease at 10 years old.
"It's something that I have to think about constantly throughout the day," Fuld said. "But I make sure to regulate my blood sugar so that it doesn't affect me on the field."
He said his diabetes never has negatively affected his baseball career.
"It very well can if you don't stay on top of it," he added. "It's always been a challenge of mine. Regulate it as best I can to make sure it doesn't hinder me athletically in the short term. But there's also a lot of long term consequences if you don't take care of it, too. To me it's been a no-brainer to always stay on top of it."
Fuld, whose father is a dean at UNH, graduated from Phillips Exeter, then played baseball at Stanford where he was teammates with Red Sox utility player Jed Lowrie.
"I actually helped recruit him when he was about 150 pounds," Fuld said about Lowrie. "And he's great. I enjoyed playing with him. He was impressive from the beginning and he really took off at Stanford and turned himself into a real prospect."
Fuld's family is friends with former Red Sox pitching coach Rich Gale, who invited Fuld and his family to Fenway occasionally in the early 1990s.
"I'd hang outside the family room and just got a big kick out of it," Fuld said. "Seeing Mo Vaughn. I probably have about five Mo Vaughn autographs back at home. That whole experience was awesome."
Fuld's terrific Fenway debut Monday was followed up by a great deal of media attention yesterday.
Some old friends also reconnected with him Monday night after the game and yesterday.
"Over 100 between texts, Facebook, e-mail," he said. "At least 100, probably close to 200."
Did you know?
When Dave Bettencourt was the head coach of UNH baseball, his bat boy in 1993 was Sam Fuld.