George Toma

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George Toma (born February 2, 1929, in Edwardsville, Pennsylvania) is an American groundskeeper who specializes in working on sports facilities.[1]

Works[edit]

Toma has maintained the fields at numerous stadiums used by Major League Baseball and National Football League teams. For much of his career, Toma was the head groundskeeper for the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City, Missouri; which includes the Kansas City Royals' Kaufmann Stadium, and the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium. He was also contracted by the NFL to prepare the field for every Super Bowl.[2]

In addition, Toma was called upon to supervise the grounds crews during the 1984 and 1996 Olympic Games, and the 1994 World Cup.[2]

Early life[edit]

As a youngster, he helped support his family by working at Artillery Park in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, home of the minor league baseball Wilkes-Barre Barons. He eventually worked his way up to head groundskeeper.

After serving in the military during the Korean War, Toma had a choice of working as stadium groundskeeper for minor league teams in Kansas City or Denver. He reportedly took the Kansas City job because the field was in worse shape than Denver.[3]

Time as groundskeeper[edit]

Toma worked for the then-Kansas City Athletics until the team relocated to Oakland in 1967, and then for the expansion Royals, at Municipal Stadium, where the Chiefs also played.

In 1972, two new stadiums were built in Kansas City, Royals Stadium (now Kaufmann) and Arrowhead Stadium. Both featured artificial turf, which brought Toma a new set of challenges. Toma has noted that artificial turf fields also require maintenance, and his crews have been able to nearly double their lifetime.[3]

Toma’s reputation won him the job of preparing the field for the first Super Bowl in 1967, as team owners from both the NFL and the American Football League contracted with him to head the grounds crew at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. He has worked every professional football championship game since.

Post-retirement[edit]

Toma officially retired from full-time work in 1999. He continues to work as a consultant for sports facilities and their groundskeepers around the United States.

Toma was inducted into the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame on January 8, 2012, as one of its charter members.[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ George Toma with Alan Goforth, George Toma: Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, Sports Publishing LLC, retrieved 22 July 2012 
  2. ^ a b George Toma: From Single A to the Super Bowl ... and Then Some, LandscapeOnline.com, retrieved 22 July 2012 
  3. ^ a b KC legend Toma earns groundskeeping honor, mlb.com, retrieved 22 July 2012 
  4. ^ George Toma inducted into MLB Groundskeeper Hall of Fame, Royals MLB Pro Blog, retrieved 22 July 2012