A Wonderful Baseball Family Legacy Passes From Grandfather to Grandson in the 2017 World Series!

A Wonderful Baseball Family Legacy Passes From Grandfather to Grandson in the 2017 World Series!

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Leon Culberson, Charlie Culberson, and the 1946 World Series Photo Gallery
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 A Wonderful Baseball Family Legacy Passes From Grandfather to Grandson in the 2017 World Series

Hey all you Old-Time Baseball Photos fans out there! Here’s something that’s right up our alley from the 2017 World Series. It’s something that will warm the heart of all baseball history fans. And I know that means you…otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this page!

I’m sure many of you are aware that Dodger utility infielder Charlie Culberson filled in admirably for injured shortstop Corey Seager in the National League Championship series against the Cubs, going 5-11 (.455), with two doubles, a triple and one RBI. He’s also appeared in four World Series games thus far, going 2-4 with a home run in Game Two. So I’d say Charlie Culberson’s had a great post season.

As one of the “proprietors” of the Old-Time Baseball Photos Face book page, the name “Culberson” caught my attention during last years’ playoffs between the Dodgers and the Nationals. “Hmmm…that name rings a bell,” I said to myself.  And then the ‘baseball history synapses’ in my brain started to fire all at once…and I had it!  I remembered that Charlie Culberson is the grandson of Leon Culberson, who played in the 1946 World Series for the Boston Red Sox.

I wrote about the Culberson baseball family legacy last year, but it’s such a great story that I’m doing it again. Only this time, Charlie’s in the World Series like his granddad was, not just the playoffs. The Culberson baseball generational legacy has passed from grandpa Leon to grandson Charlie. As baseball history buffs, if that wonderful story doesn’t make you a bit teary-eyed, then nothing will!

In the neat featured photo below, we see Leon Culberson making a likely staged leaping catch in front of the scoreboard at Fenway Park. Click on the link to see a nice photo gallery from the 1946 World Series:

Does Enos Slaughter’s “Mad Dash” ring any bells? It happened in the thrilling 1946 World Series between the Cardinals and Red Sox. It’s one of the most exciting plays in World Series history; and Charlie’s granddad, Leon Culberson, was directly involved, although not in a particularly flattering way.

As recently as two weeks ago, I wrote about the 1946 World Series and that famous play. I won’t rehash all the details here; but briefly, Leon Culberson went in as a pinch runner for the injured Dom DiMaggio in the eighth inning of the decisive seventh game with the score tied. He stayed in the game to play center. Leon fielded the ball hit by Harry Walker that started Enos Slaughter on his famous “Mad Dash” that proved to be the winning run.  Some historians have said Culberson played the ball too casually and let it fall in front of him. Others have opined that DiMaggio would have put the ball in his “hip pocket.” That’s all hard to say. Plus, it’s always easy to second guess. 

Leon Culberson played six years in the majors for the Red Sox (1943-’47) and Senators (1948). He hit .266 with 131 RBIs and 14 home runs. On July 3, 1943 Culberson hit one of the 14 “natural cycles” in baseball history. It’s also one of only two “natural cycles” to include an inside-the-park home run. His son, Charles, was the 16th pick of the Giants in the 1984 draft and played five years in the Giants’ minor league system. Leon passed away on September 17, 1989 when grandson Charlie was just four months old

Leon’s grandson, Charlie, has been in the major leagues for five seasons (2012-‘17), playing for the Giants, Rockies, and now the Dodgers. Over his career, Charlie has hit .231 with six home runs and 45 RBIs. In 13 post season games, Charlie has gone 7-22 (.318) with one home run and two RBIs, including a home run in Game Two of the current World Series, one of the record eight home runs hit in that game.

Anyway…how many grandfather-grandson combinations have there ever been in baseball history? I’d guess not very many. . I think we can all agree that the Culberson family can be very proud of this wonderful baseball legacy.

Good Luck Charlie the rest of the way. You’ve warmed the hearts of all of us baseball history fans. Your granddad, Leon Culberson, were he here today, would be very proud indeed!

Gary Livacari

Photo Credits: All from Google search

Information: Excerpts edited from the 1946 World Series Wikipedia page.

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I'm a baseball historian who also loves to write. My forte is identifying ballplayers in old photos, and my specail interest is the Dead Ball Era.

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