Dick Culler: A Baseball Success Story

Dick Culler and Boots Poffenberger

Richard Broadus “Dick” Culler was born on January 15, 1915, in High Point, North Carolina, and was often called by his middle name when he was not playing ball. He attended High Point College after high school and was captain of the basketball team, an infielder and pitcher for the baseball squad, and while playing soccer, he also coached the team. He graduated in 1935.

After joining the Cooleemee Weavers in 1936, an independent team 45 miles from his home, legendary manager Connie Mack signed Culler to play for the Philadelphia Athletics. With his salary, he felt he could afford to marry his college sweetheart, Evelyn Williams.

When Evelyn became ill in 1938, Culler moved to Concord, North Carolina, to coach high school baseball and play with the Concord Weavers before playing for the Reidsville Luckies for the balance of 1938, where he batted .330 and again in 1939, where his average for the season was .348.

The following year, the Elmira Pioneers in the Eastern League, a Brooklyn Dodgers farm club, acquired his rights and traded him to Nashville in the Southern Association. That club set a league record with 208 double plays, many of them with Culler, and manager Larry Gilbert sang the praises of his shortstop. At 5′ 9″ tall and 155 pounds, he gained popularity as an intelligent fielder playing shortstop during most of his career but had shortcomings at the plate.

“I’ve seen Culler make plays this year that no shortstop in the game, big league or otherwise, could beat. If he could hit big-league pitching, he’d be a sensation in the majors.”

Culler showed no power but batted .277 and .267 for Nashville.

With St. Paul in 1942, he hit for a .260 average and was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1943, who sold him to the Boston Braves. Culler spent four seasons in Boston, then moved on to the Chicago Cubs, followed by the New York Giants. He was playing for the Baltimore Orioles in the International League in 1950 when he retired at the end of the season.

In eight MLB seasons, he played in 472 games with 1,527 at-bats, 195 runs, 372 hits, 39 doubles, six triples, two home runs, 99 RBI, 19 stolen bases, 166 walks, a .244 batting average, a .320 on-base percentage, and a .281 slugging percentage.

After his playing career, Culler founded and operated the Autographed Baseball Company. He died in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, at age 49 and was buried in Floral Garden Park Cemetery in his hometown.




Charlotte Mecklenberg Library, Richard “Dick” Broadus Culler (1915 – 1963), retrieved January 15, 2024: https://www.cmstory.org/exhibits/outlaw-carolina-baseball-league-1936-1938-player-information/richard-dick-broadus-culler

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Utley, Hank, and Corbett, Warren, Dick Culler. SABR Biography Project, retrieved January 15, 2024: https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/dick-culler/

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