Tommy Glaviano, 3B, 1947 Houston Buffs.

Tommy Glaviano, 3B, 1947 Houston Buffs

Tommy Glaviano may not have been the greatest stick and glove man who ever rounded the bend, but he held down the third base job pretty well for the 1947 Texas League-Dixie Series Champion Houston Buffs. On his way up for a brief career with parent St. Louis Cardinals, the 23-year old Glaviano batted .245 with 13 home runs and a .405 slugging average for the ’47 Buffs.

Tommy Glaviano (BR/TR) was born in Sacramento, California on October 26, 1923. At 5’9″ and 175 lbs, Tommy wasn’t exactly big enough to offer a wall of protection against slashing grounders and twisting cannon ball shot liners, but he was fast enough to have earned the nickname “Rabbit” for his speed and reflexive quickness. Tommy’s errors often came on the mental part of the throw that had to follow the great stop, but he wasn’t the first third baseman to suffer from that issue.

After signing with the Cardinals as a very young free agent, Glaviano broke in as a 17-year old 53-game rookie for the 1941 Class C Fresno club, batting .253 with 1 HR. The following full season, Tommy batted a combined .223 with Fresno and another Class C Cardinal farm team at Springfield, Ohio, where he played for future Hall of Fame manager Walt Alston.

1943-45 took Tommy Glaviano into the service of his country in World II. He returned to baseball in 1946, again on assignment to Fresno. This time it would be for an appointment with his greatest year in baseball, bar none. In 1946, Glaviano batted .338 in 126 games. He collected 29 doubles, 13 triples, and 22 home runs for a lights-out slugging average of .616 on the season.

A season like that at age 22 is enough to buy you at least a cup of coffee in the big leagues on the road ahead, even in the players-controlled-like-cattle era of the reserve clause and heavy club investment by some in their farm systems. In spite of Tommy’s down and disappointing statistical dive with the ’47 Buffs, he would get his run at the majors after an improving year with AAA Columbus, Ohio of the American Association in 1948. Glaviano batted .285 for Columbus, collecting 17 doubles, 7 triples, and 18 homers that bounced his slugging average up to .30 on the season.

Tommy Glaviano began a five season (1949-53) big league career the following spring. He never quite found the brass ring. In fact, he missed it by a country mile. In his five seasons (four with the Cardinals and one with the Philadelphia Phillies), Tommy Glaviano batted .257 in 1,008 official times at bat. He recorded 55 career doubles, 6 triples, 24 triples and a sluggish .395 slugging average.

After 1953, Glaviano played for two more full seasons (1954-55) and a doughnut-dunk at San Antonio in 1957, finishing with an eight-season minor league career batting average of .257 (same as majors) with 69 homers.

Tommy Glaviano passed away in retirement at his home in Sacramento on January 19, 2004. He was 80 years old. Tommy may not have lived up to his hoped-for potential, but he was old school. His death was another loss to our living remembrance of that golden earlier era in the game’s history. It will be up to the rest of us who also remember to make sure that Tommy and his baseball pals are never forgotten.

Long Live the Houston Buffs. Long Live the memory of the game.

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4 Responses to “Tommy Glaviano, 3B, 1947 Houston Buffs.”

  1. bud Says:

    Hi Bill: The clearest memory of Tommy Glaviano I have is not a pretty one. Has to do with the final week of the ’49 season with the Cardinals seemingly in the catbird seat for the pennant. I think it was Howard Pollett with a comfortable lead in 8th or 9th inning when Tommy made 2 or 3 errors and the rest is history. The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones. It seems that after that, Ebbetts Field became a house of horrors for the Birds. BK

  2. Tal Smith Says:

    Bill,

    If memory serves me correctly, Tommy once had a 4 error game for the Cardinals in the era between Kurowski and Boyer when he and Kazak and Jabbo tried to man the hot corner.

    Tal

  3. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Glaviano made 20 errors in 291 total chances at 3rd and 2nd in 1949.He drew (or threw for) 25 errors in 413 total chances in 1950. He improved a little bit in 1951, but not enough to matter.

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