Trumbull County Sports HOF Spotlight: Tom Raphtis, Baseball

The Trumbull County Sports Hall of Fame will induct 12 new members during enshrinement ceremonies this past October.

The organization’s 19th class includes Brian Beinecke (football), the late George A. Bollas (wrestling), Vanness “Van” Brandon (football), Tony Davis (football), Bill Dreier (contribution to sports, official), Nia Grant (volleyball), Larry Kempe (football, coach), the late Richard Raidel (football), Tom Raphtis (football), Bob Todd (golf, coach), Dan Williams (football, coach) and Mandy Zolciak Willis (basketball).

An all-around athlete who earned scholastic letters in baseball, basketball and football at Warren G. Harding High School, he really excelled on the diamond and that is the sport for which he is enshrined tonight.

He participated in the aforementioned sports on both the junior high and high school levels, also starring in the local American Legion and Class “AA” sandlot baseball  leagues during the summer months.

A graduate of WGH High School in 1956, he would go on to play collegiately for legendary head baseball and basketball coach, Dom Rosselli, at nearby Youngstown University where he earned four letters for the Penguins as one of its star twirlers.

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He helped the team to the Ohio crown, his trademark fastball earning him multiple accolades and honors as he was named to the all-star team for his efforts.

He was the winning pitcher in the 1958 Ohio NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) championship game.

Also, on three separate occasions, he struck out 15 opposing batters in a game, one coming in high school, the other while with then Penguins and the last one while playing in the Class “AA” League.

Among his notable teammates were the late Ron Stoops, a heralded baseball and fast-pitch player in Youngstown who would become a Washington Senators farmhand and his “AA” teammate, Ed Stroud, who went on to have a six-year Major League Baseball career with the Chicago White Sox (1966-67, 1971) and Washington Senators (1967-70).

Offered a contract with the Cleveland Indians, he was unable to accept due to a knee injury he sustained at the end of his college career.

In addition to his baseball prowess, he was a tight end on the Warren Harding football team – he caught at least one pass in every game that he – performing kick-off and extra point duties as well.

As a standout guard on the school’s hardwood, he was the Panthers’ first player to score 30-plus points – he scored 31 during the 1955-56 season – in a game and held the record for multiple seasons.  That year, he also helped his alma mater defeat Salem, 106-103, which at the time set the record for most combined points by two scholastic teams in the state of Ohio.

An excellent free throw shooter, he received an award for most consecutive foul shots made during the season.

Upon graduation from  YU, he was employed as an industrial engineer for the local steel industry and was a local businessman, positions in which he excelled for over 36 years.

For his efforts, he was inducted into the Warren Sports Hall of Fame as a member of its 2009 class.

A family-oriented person, upon the death of his brother, Jim, who was also an outstanding athlete during his prime, this year’s honoree established a Memorial Athletic Scholarship in his brother’s name at their alma mater, Warren G. Harding High School.

He has been married to the former Aliki Collins for 59 years and they are the proud parents of three children, Renae (Dr. Dean) Economus, Athena (George) Tsudis and Attorney Harry Raphtis.

They have five grandchildren, Luke, Lexie and Thomas Tsudis, and Lilly and Cece Economus.

They reside in Warren.


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