Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off home run that secured the National League West title for the Los Angeles Dodgers (their fourth in a row) — and yet, this moment had little to do with either of those two things.
You see, Sept. 25, 2016, was the final game that Vin Scully would call from his press box at Dodger Stadium. And to anyone who grew up with Scully, you understand when we say this meant something more.
Of course, the game-winning home run seemed to be the only appropriate way to send off a legend, not to mention that the blow was delivered by the type of player that Scully loved to tell stories about.
Culberson turned pro in 2007 after being taken by the San Francisco Giants with pick No. 51. His MLB debut didn’t come until 2012 — and it didn’t last long, as he played in just six games before leaving the Giants for good at the end of the season.
In 2013 and 2014, Culberson played in 142 games for the Rockies before missing out on the majors for the entirety of the 2015 season.
In 2016 he was added by the Dodgers, but played 70 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City before being called up for the stretch run. In 34 games for the Dodgers, his on-base percentage was below .300 and his slugging percentage was a miserable .374.
But, Culberson did have one home run — and boy was it a big one.
After Kenley Jansen gave up a run in the ninth inning that allowed the Rockies to take a 3-2 lead, Corey Seager tied it in the bottom of the ninth. Then in the 10th inning, with two outs and an 0-1 count, Culberson took Boone Logan deep into the left field seats, setting off an emotional celebration across Los Angeles.
From the legend himself:
“Swung on…a high fly ball to deep left field…the Dodger bench clears…would you believe a home run? And the Dodgers have clinched the division and will celebrate on schedule!”
After celebrating the win — and the NL West title — the team took a moment to turn toward the press box and honor Scully with a tip of their caps. Scully then thanked Dodger fans and left the press box after a recording of “The Wind Beneath My Wings” played throughout the stadium.
For anyone who had grown accustomed to the audio perfection Scully delivered night-in and night-out, the moment was an emotional one — like saying goodbye to a lifelong friend.
And that is why this was the No. 3 moment of the previous decade.
Top Dodgers moments of the previous decade
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