- By David Wellham The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Charlie Culberson, who was born in Rome and graduated from Calhoun High School, likely will play a backup role at several positions for the Braves.
Here are five things to know about Culberson:
When acquired: He joined the Braves in the surprise salary-dumping trade that sent Matt Kemp to the Dodgers on Dec. 16. The Dodgers also unloaded Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir and Adrian Gonzalez. The latter was designated for assignment immediately as a condition of the trade.
What to expect: Culberson has played second base, shortstop, third base, left field and first base in his major league career, and before his time with the Braves is over he could see action at all those positions. With the Braves contemplating a 13-man pitching staff, they value Culberson’s versatility.
Summary of career: The Giants drafted Culberson in the first round (51st overall) in 2007, and he made his major league debut in May 2012. In five big-league seasons (with the Giants, Rockies and Dodgers), Culberson has a career batting average of .231. In two of the seasons he flirted with .300 (.299 and .293) and three times he failed to reach .200 (.136, 195 and .154). However, in five seasons he has played in only 197 games, with 411 at-bats. He did not play in the 2015 season because of a back injury and spent most of last season with the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
Career highlight: On Sept. 25, 2016, Culberson hit a game-winning home run for the Dodgers in the bottom of the 10th inning that clinched the National League West title. That’s a big deal for a light-hitting utility infielder/outfielder. But the cherry on top was that the play was the last call at Dodger Stadium in the legendary career of Dodgers broadcasting great Vin Scully. Culberson has hit one home run since that game, in the NLCS last season. His previous homer before the Scully call came Aug. 14, 2014. The Scully call is one of six homers in the majors for Culberson.
Something you didn’t know about him: Culberson’s grandfather Leon Culberson was on a football scholarship at Georgia Tech for two years (though he never lettered), but left Tech to play professional baseball and eventually played six years in the majors. Leon Culberson also played a key role in the famous “Mad Dash” play when Enos Slaughter of the Cardinals scored the winning run in the seventh game of the 1946 World Series. Slaughter scored from first on a single to center, on a ball hit to Red Sox center fielder Culberson. Charlie Culberson’s dad, Charles Culberson, also was drafted by the Giants, in the 16th round in 1984 (401st overall), but he never reached the majors.