Tommy Glaviano’s Nightmare Inning

Although he only played in five seasons and tasted 100+ games in only one of those, Glaviano could hold his own with a bat. He was an above average hitter during his short career. His sophomore 1950 season generated more than 4 wins above replacement inside 115 games, a potentially All-Star worthy pace.

It was in this season, one that should have provided his best memories, that he underwent what can only be described as a third baseman’s worst nightmare. He started the May 18 game against Brooklyn with a solo home run. Two innings later he committed an error, but the resulting baserunner was stranded and no harm was done. By the time the eighth inning began his Cardinals were up 8-0. Brooklyn narrowed the gap to 8-4.

A four run lead in the ninth is still comfortable, though Brooklyn’s Jim Russell made things less so when he led off the bottom of the inning with a double and scored on the next hit. The following batter flied out but a single and a walk quickly loaded the bases.

Here’s where the ominous music kicks in for Glaviano. Roy Campanella hit a ground ball directly towards him, setting up a potential game-ending double play. Quickly getting the ball, he threw to second base to begin the familiar defensive maneuver but ended up sending the ball into the outfield. One run scored and everyone was safe with a score of 8-6.

The next Dodger batter repeated the process, hitting a grounder directly to Glaviano. Not taking any chances, he threw to home plate but missed widely. Gil Hodges scored from third base, cutting the lead to a single run with the bases still loaded.

Brooklyn captain Pee Wee Reese stepped to the plate and also hit a ground ball to Glaviano. He moved to field the ball but it passed between his legs into left field. Two runs scored on the play, giving the Dodgers an unlikely 9-8 victory made possible by three consecutive ninth-inning errors.

Despite the errors, Glaviano had been solid through the end of 1950. A shoulder injury soon decreased his effectiveness and he was out of MLB by 1954.