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Rod Gilbreath Biography by The Baseball Page

Rod Gilbreath Biography by The Baseball Page

Rodney Joe Gilbreath

    * Bats Right, Throws Right
    * Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.

    * Debut June 17, 1972
    * Final Game October 1, 1978
    * Born September 24, 1952 in Laurel, MS USA

Rod Gilbreath played seven seasons for the Atlanta Braves and later was a minor league manager and major league front-office executive.

Gilbreath was drafted in the third round of the 1970 draft and played in the rookie league at age 17 at Magic Valley, hitting .278. The next season he was at Greenwood under manager Clint Courtney, with a team that also featured Rowland Office, a fourth-round draft pick from 1970 who was the same age as Gilbreath. Gilbreath hit .309 while Office hit .302.

Both Gilbreath and Office played at Savannah in 1972, with Gilbreath again hitting a few points higher than Office. Rod came to the majors in 1972 for 14 games, as the second-youngest player in the 1972 National League (Office was the youngest).

1973 saw both Gilbreath and Office at Richmond, a team with a .231 batting average. As was becoming the norm, Gilbreath again beat Office by a few batting average points and he was up in the majors for 29 games where he hit .284.

Rod, however, had a problem in that he played third base and second base, positions that were filled on the Braves by Darrell Evans and Davey Johnson, both of whom hit 40+ home runs in 1973. That meant Gilbreath would spend another year in the minors, 1974, while Office became a major leaguer.

In early 1975 Johnson was gone and Gilbreath got his chance to play at the major league level in 90 games. He played even more often in 1976-78, getting at least 350 at-bats each year although his average stayed around .245. Rowland Office also had around the same average in 1977-78 for the Braves.

Gilbreath's last major league season was 1978, at age 25. In 1979-80 he played for Portland in the PCL, in the Pirates organization. He was a teammate there of infielders Dale Berra and Vance Law.

Rod came back to the Braves as a minor league manager for a couple years and as a front-office executive. By the mid-90's he was director of minor league operations.

    * Southern League Stolen Bases Leader (1972)

By BR Bullpen

 

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Atlanta Braves, Baseball Executive, Director of Minor League Operations for Major League Baseball, Manager

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