On Thursday afternoon, the Baltimore Orioles closed out a four-game series vs. the Boston Red Sox, and present at Fenway Park was a former Connecticut teacher-turned hitting coach for the Orioles.
“To be here is surreal,” said Ryan Fuller, co-hitting coach for the Orioles.
Fuller has always been a teacher, and a student of the game.
“English 9, 10 Honors and 11 Honors, being a teacher, giving lessons at night coaching spring baseball in Connecticut,” Fuller said.
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“We just used to talk hitting. All the time,” said former Lyme-Old Lyme baseball head coach Randy St. Germain.
But the former UConn Husky hardly imagined that one day his two loves would translate to a coaching position in Major League Baseball.
“He was coaching against me as an assistant, and the next year, he was in the Baltimore system,” St. Germain said.
Three years ago, Fuller’s office looked a little different. He was grading papers on “The Great Gatsby” in the English wing of Haddam-Killingworth High School, but fast forward to days like Thursday, Fuller’s office just happened to be “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark.”
“Every time you came to a game at Fenway it would be goosebumps, and to be on the field every day before the game starts, I come out and just walk the field a little bit and take it in,” Fuller said.
From Old Lyme to UConn to H-K assistant, it was a fascination with hitting that fueled Fuller’s path to the AL East.
“I always loved baseball, giving hitting lessons on the side,” Fuller said. “It was just a perfect combination. It’s what I’m passionate about.”
And it’s that passion for teaching that opened the door for a career on the diamond.
“I just started to put all my work on social media, on Instagram, not to gain attention, but just to get local clients and let them know that I’m here to help if anyone wants hitting lessons,” Fuller said.
Come 2019, the Orioles weren’t looking for lessons, but a new coach to help groom their next crop of hitters.
“It was just unbelievable to think that that page reached people like that, and they were seeing what we were doing in southeastern Connecticut,” Fuller said.
Fuller spent a couple years in the minors before reaching the show - an accomplishment that continues to make those watching back home proud.
“It’s been really exciting to watch and to see him grow and I think he has a long, incredible future ahead of him. I really do,” St. Germain said.