George Toma selected to Royals Hall of Fame
The Kansas City Royals today have announced that former groundskeeper George Toma has been voted into the Royals Hall of Fame. Toma will become the 25th member of the Royals Hall of Fame when inducted during on-field ceremonies prior to the Minnesota Twins versus Royals game at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, August 31.
Toma is the first inductee elected through the Royals Hall of Fame Veterans Committee which was part of a redesigned voting process established in 2011. The veterans committee vote, taken in even numbered years, considers the candidacy of non-field personnel in addition to players and managers no longer eligible for election by Regular Phase Royals Hall of Fame Voting. The committee consists of 16 members, comprised of select Royals Hall of Fame Members, Royals’ Club Executives and media members. Candidates must be named on at least seventy-five percent (75%) of all ballots cast to be elected.
George Toma originally came to Kansas City in 1957 as head groundskeeper for the Kansas City Athletics. Generally regarded as the finest groundskeeper in the history of team sports, he first made his name by taking a notorious poor field at Municipal Stadium and transforming it into one of the best in the game. Toma’s stature as a groundskeeper extended well beyond his baseball work, including associations with the Kansas City Chiefs and the National Football League among others. His work as turf consultant for the National Football League at every Super Bowl earned him the Professional Football Hall of Fame Pioneer Award in 2001. He joined mentor Emil Bossard as the first two inductee’s into the MLB Groundskeeper Association Hall of Fame earlier this year. He has continued to work in recent years, assisting the Minnesota Twins at their spring training complex in Fort Myers, Fla.
Toma served as the Royals Head Groundskeeper from their inception in 1969 through the 1995 season. He also served as a consultant to the ballclub from 1995-97. He and his wife, Donna, still make their home in the Kansas City area, and his son, Chip, served with him for many years both with the Royals and Chiefs.
Previous Hall of Fame inductees include:
1986: Pitcher Steve Busby and Outfielder Amos Otis
1987: Manager Dick Howser, Second Baseman Cookie Rojas and Pitcher Paul Splittorff
1989: Pitcher Dennis Leonard and Designated Hitter Hal McRae
1992: Club President Joe Burke, Pitcher Larry Gura and Shortstop Fred Patek
1993: Owner Ewing Kauffman
1994: Third Baseman George Brett
1995: Second Baseman Frank White
1996: Royals First Lady Muriel Kauffman and first baseman John Mayberry
1998: Relief pitcher Dan Quisenberry
2000: Manager Whitey Herzog and outfielder Willie Wilson
2003: Pitcher Jeff Montgomery
2004: Radio Announcer Denny Matthews
2005: Pitcher Bret Saberhagen
2006: Pitcher Mark Gubicza
2008: Scout Art Stewart
2011: Kevin Appier