Buff Biographies: Tommy Glaviano

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Tommy Glaviano 01 Over the years, a lot of shortstops have managed to spin double-digit year MLB careers as “good field/no hit” players due to the importance of speed, range, and athleticism at the critical middle infield spot. Not so third basemen. Strong arms and a good reflexive reaction capacity are important to third base defense, but the guy’s got to hit, preferably for average and power – and he needs to be a killer batter with men on base.

The legion of those who couldn’t cut it offensively in the majors at good old “3B” is large in numbers and, sadly so, it includes Tommy Glaviano,  the third baseman for the 1947 Dixie Series champion Houston Buffs.

Born October 26, 1923 in Sacramento, California, Tommy Glaviano (5’9″, 175 ib.) (BR/TR) signed with the Cardinals out of high school at the age of 17 and played a couple of seasons (1941-42) at Class C level before serving in the Coast Guard during World War II (1943-45). Early Warning: At two city team stops at Fresno and Springfield in his first two seasons, .253 was Glaviano’s best mark.

Things seemed to change after the war. In 1946, Glaviano returned to Fresno and batted .338 with 22 HR in 126 games. It looked like a bright new beginning. It turned out to be his career-best year – and the only time Tommy would hit over .300 and only twice more come anywhere near that magical good-hitter mark in his professional career.

In his 1947 AA Houston Buff season, Tommy batted .245 with 13 HR in 125 games at 3B. In 1948, he pumped it up to .287 with 18 HR for AAA Columbus, Ohio. Things were looking good.

Tommy Glaviano 02 Glaviano began his five season MLB career (Cardinals 1949-52; Phillies 1953) the next spring. 1950 would prove his best MLB season when he hit .285 with 11 HR. For all five seasons in the Bigs, Glaviano played 389 games, batting .257 with 24 HR.

After 1953, Glaviano played two more seasons (1954-55) with AAA Sacramento and 12 games with 1957 AA San Antonio before retiring from active play at age 33. Over the long haul of his 8-season minor league career, played variously from 1941 to 1957, Tommy Glaviano posted a career minor league mark of .257 with 69 HR.

Tommy Glaviano passed away in Sacramento, California on January 19, 2004 at the age of 80.

R.I.P., Mr. Glaviano! You were the first third baseman of my Buffs fan years – and you played your spot right there at 3B with my other Houston Buff infield heroes: Solly Hemus at 2B, Billy Costa at SS, Johnny Hernandez at 1B, and Gerry Burmeister at C. – And let’s not forget outfielders Eddie Knoblauch in Left, Hal Epps in Center, and Vaughn Hazen in Right, – and, oh yeah, 1947 Buff pitchers Clarence Beers (25-8) and Al Papai (21-10), – and a certain manager named Johnny Keane.

Long live Tommy Glaviano and the memory of all the 1947 Houston Buffs!

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One Response to “Buff Biographies: Tommy Glaviano”

  1. tom murrah Says:

    Another good column, thanks. Had that ’52 Topps card for years. And, during his brief 12-game stay in San Antonio in ’57, Tommy hit just as many home runs as Brooks Robinson did in 28 games there that same season…one each. Thanks for the memories.

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