'I wanted to do something else with my life,' he said. Fullan played baseball as a child and also in adult leagues in his 20s and 30s.
James Fullan always wanted to be a college baseball player, but it wasn't an easy journey for him. During his first baseball practice with Pennsylvania’s Montgomery County Community College Mustangs, people thought he was just someone's dad. He became unsure of what he had signed up for. "Everyone's looking at me like 'what the heck is that guy doing here?'" recalled Fullan, 56, according to The Washington Post.
Fullan, a father of three and a grandfather of nine, recently retired from the US Postal Service. He had only one motivation to leave his job of 36 years: he wanted to play college baseball. Though he enjoyed his career, Fullan felt something was missing. "I wanted to do something else with my life," he said. He had played baseball as a child and also in adult leagues in his 20s and 30s. In the last few years, his grandkids became really interested in the sport, which sparked his desire for the game again. "I don’t want to be a spectator, I want to be a player," he said.
He added that he doesn't regret leaving his high-paying job. Other than becoming a college baseball player, Fullan always wanted to get a college degree. He applied to many community colleges and only Montgomery County Community College accepted him. He was nervous if he will be able to keep up with school and play a sport. He attends college classes and has a lot more aspirin, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer. "You know, the more I talked about this, the more people laughed at me," Fullan said. "That made me want to do it more. It seemed like a joke at first, but I will see it through." In 2021, Fullan suffered a heart attack while playing baseball in an over-55 league. He recovered from it and is now "healthy as ever." He knows that he needs to accept his limitations. He now plays as both a right fielder and a left fielder. "I can't run full speed, I can't dive," he said.
"I'm not bad with my age group, but when you go up against kids a third of your age, it's a real awakening," said Fullan. He started classes at Montgomery County Community College in August of last year. He shared that 25 people had tried for the game and 18 stayed on. The Mustangs have won 12 games and lost two in their league, Division III in the National Junior College Athletic Association. According to Fullan, his coach Mike Fitzgerald has been a great help. Talking about Fullan, his coach said, "He's here because he can contribute." He said that it's his skills that have earned him a place on the team. "He can put the ball in play."
In Fitzgerald's 25 years as a coach, Fullan is the oldest player he has had on the team. "It didn't surprise me that somebody wants to have their shot to play at this level; it surprised me that he stuck it out and that he could actually do it," Fitzgerald said. Moreover, Fullan is also a mentor to many on the team. "What they see in him is a guy who is 56 years old, who wants it bad enough that he's going to work his backside off to get it," Fitzgerald said. "That's helped the whole team. He is a true teammate."
Fullan joined the US Army straight out of high school. He couldn't play in high school because he was cut from the team at Bishop Eagan High School in Fairless Hills, PA. He was 39 when he last played in the hardball league with his oldest son. He knows that he might spend more time on the bench than in the batter's box in this season but all he cares about is enjoying the game.