Posts Tagged ‘Tommy Glaviano’

Buff Biographies: Tommy Glaviano

July 26, 2013

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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!

Tommy Glaviano, 3B, 1947 Houston Buffs.

March 29, 2010

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.