From BR Bullpen
Thomas G. Raffo
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 200 lb.
Tommy Raffo hit .285 in four minor league seasons then became a college coach.
Raffo was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 34th round of the 1986 amateur draft as a high school pitcher but did not sign. In 1989, he hit .383 with 22 home runs, 69 runs and 80 RBI as a college junior for Mississippi State. Baseball America named him the second-team All-American at first base, behind Frank Thomas (who hit 3 fewer homers than Tommy). Raffo was 10th in NCAA Division I with 102 hits, 8th with 185 total bases, 7th in home runs and tied with P.J. Forbes for 13th with 80 RBI.
Raffo was surprisingly undrafted after his big '89 campaign. He was co-captain of the Mississippi State team that made the 1990 College World Series. That season, Raffo hit .358/~.435/.594 for a strong year but a significant dropoff from 1989. Raffo was named All-Southeastern Conference at first base again but did not finish among the national leaders or make All-American.
The independent Miami Miracle drafted Tommy in the 8th round of the 1990 amateur draft, two rounds after they took Mike Lansing. Raffo hit .258/.339/.356 for the Miracle and served as their most-used first baseman despite joining them mid-season.
Moving on to the Cincinnati Reds organization, Raffo batted .277/~.332/.414 for the 1991 Charleston Wheelers. He led the club with 13 home runs and his 68 RBI were 3 behind leader Steve Gibralter. Raffo was named the All-Star first baseman for the South Atlantic League.
Tommy hit .302/.371/.484 for the 1992 Cedar Rapids Reds, but that ended his career in Organized Baseball. In 1993, he hit .321 and slugged .404 for the independent St. Paul Saints to finish his playing career.
From 1994-2008, he was an assistant coach at Mississippi State, working with the hitters and outfielders and also working as recruiting coordinator. He helped the team make the College World Series three times - in 1997, 1998 and 2007.
When Raffo's mentor Ron Polk retired from Mississippi State, he pushed to have the school select Raffo as his successor. When they went instead to John Cohen, a teammate of Raffo's during their college days, Polk threatened to withdraw his name from the stadium and the school's athletic department from his will.
Raffo was named head coach at Arkansas State University in July 2008.