George Toma inducted into Royals Hall of Fame
This evening, the Royals inducted long-time head groundskeeper George Toma into the Royals Hall of Fame. He worked for the Royals until 1997, but still keeps active as a consultant at the Super Bowl each year and at the Minnesota Twins spring training fields in Fort Myers Florida. Toma becomes the 25th member of the Royals Hall of Fame, the first groundskeeper. Toma spent his whole life since the age of 13 (70 years) dedicated to keeping ball fields looking their finest and living by his three words “and then some.” What George meant by these simple three words was to always do your job and then some. Going above and beyond what is expected was how George lived his life and did his job.
Toma was born a coal miner’s son in Pennsylvania. His family had just enough to get by. George’s dad passed when he was only ten and he said he did not want to work the mines. “I took my first job at 13 on a vegetable farm making 50 cents per hour,” George said. He went on to talk about his second job being on a chicken farm making around one dollar an hour if not less. He said it was around that time when he was given his first groundskeeping job at the young age of 13 with the Class-A Eastern League affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.
George continued working in baseball and was offered a job with the Kansas City A’s at old Municipal Stadium in 1957. He said when he first went to Kansas City to get a look at the field it was just awful. He said there was not much grass at all and what was there was crabgrass or not very good. “The players would actually pick the crabgrass out of the infield themselves,” George said. He took the job in Kansas City, even after the warnings from a friend telling him not to. He had been warned that in Kansas City it floods in the spring and bakes in the summer, but he took the job anyway. He took the job because he wanted the challenge and because he always kept those three words close, “and then some.”
George Brett complimented Toma during an induction speech saying that he prided himself as a player to always be the first one to the ball park in the morning and being the last one to leave. He said he never once in his entire career beat Toma to the field in the morning and he was always there whenever he left.
Toma said in his 70 years in sports he never met a bad player or a bad owner. He did say he had his difficulty with front office staff, but that is going to happen when you are negotiating seed prices and other necessities for the field. He followed that up with also saying in his 70 years in and around the game he never had a bad day. He said it is such an honor to be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame and it means so much to him. He then looked around the room filled with former and current front office and Royals staff as well as former Royals and said everyone had a hand in getting him to where he is today. He said without everyone in Kansas City and elsewhere along his journey he would not be where he is today and would not be going into the Royals Hall of Fame. He then finished by thanking everyone again and said that everyone has a fingerprint on his Hall of Fame induction and that without them, there would be no George Toma.