George Toma

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

Works

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' Kauffman 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

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

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 NFL Kansas City Chiefs also played. Municipal Stadium was also home to the Kansas City Comets Soccer team.

In 1972, two new stadiums were built in Kansas City, Royals Stadium (now Kauffman) 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 Super Bowl since.

Post-retirement

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 honored by the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001 as the recipient of the Daniel F. Reeves Pioneer Award. Toma was inducted into the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame on January 8, 2012, as one of its charter members.[4]

Also in 2012, Toma was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame.

Notes

  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, archived from the original on 5 September 2014, 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
Bartram Trail High School

Bartram Trail High School (BTHS) is a public high school in the St. Johns County School District, located in northwest St. Johns County, Florida (U.S.) that opened in 2000. The school was ranked number 327 by Newsweek magazine in the top 1,300 high schools in the United States in 2008.

Kansas City Royals

The Kansas City Royals are an American professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member team of the American League (AL) Central division. The team was founded as an expansion franchise in 1969, and has participated in four World Series, winning in 1985 and 2015, and losing in 1980 and 2014.

The name Royals pays homage to the American Royal, a livestock show, horse show, rodeo, and championship barbeque competition held annually in Kansas City since 1899 as well as the identical names of two former negro league baseball teams that played in the first half of the 20th century (one a semi-pro team based in Kansas City in the 1910s and 1920s that toured the Midwest and a California Winter League team based in Los Angeles in the 1940s that was managed by Chet Brewer and included Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson on its roster). The Los Angeles team had personnel connections to the Monarchs but could not use the Monarchs name. The name also fits into something of a theme for other professional sports franchises in the city, including the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL, the former Kansas City Kings of the NBA, and the former Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro National League.

In 1968, the team held a name-the-team contest that received more than 17,000 entries. Sanford Porte, a bridge engineer from the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas was named the winner for his “Royals” entry. His reason had nothing to do with royalty. “Kansas City’s new baseball team should be called the Royals because of Missouri’s billion-dollar livestock income, Kansas City’s position as the nation’s leading stocker and feeder market and the nationally known American Royal parade and pageant,” Porte wrote. The team's board voted 6-1 on the name, with the only opposition coming from team owner Ewing Kauffman, who eventually changed his vote and said the name had grown on him.Entering the American League in 1969 along with the Seattle Pilots, the club was founded by Kansas City businessman Ewing Kauffman. The franchise was established following the actions of Stuart Symington, then-United States Senator from Missouri, who demanded a new franchise for the city after the Athletics (Kansas City's previous major league team that played from 1955 to 1967) moved to Oakland, California in 1968. Since April 10, 1973, the Royals have played at Kauffman Stadium, formerly known as Royals Stadium.

The new team quickly became a powerhouse, appearing in the playoffs seven times from 1976 to 1985, winning one World Series championship and another AL pennant, led by stars such as Amos Otis, Hal McRae, John Mayberry, George Brett, Frank White, Willie Wilson, and Bret Saberhagen. The team remained competitive throughout the early 1990s, but then had only one winning season from 1995 to 2012. For 28 consecutive seasons (1986–2013), the Royals did not qualify to play in the MLB postseason, one of the longest postseason droughts during baseball's current wild-card era. The team broke this streak in 2014 by securing the franchise's first wild card berth and advancing to the World Series. The Royals followed this up by winning the team's first Central Division title in 2015 and defeating the New York Mets for their first World Series title in 30 years.

Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman Stadium (), often called "The K", is a baseball park located in Kansas City, Missouri, that is home to the Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball (MLB). It is part of the Truman Sports Complex together with the adjacent Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League. The ballpark is named for Ewing Kauffman, the founder and first owner of the Royals. It opened in 1973 as Royals Stadium and was named for Kauffman on July 2, 1993. The ballpark's listed seating capacity since 2009 is 37,903.

Kauffman Stadium was built specifically for baseball during an era when building multisport "cookie-cutter" stadiums was commonplace. It is often held up along with Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles as one of the best examples of modernist stadium design. It is currently the only ballpark in the American League to be named after a person and is also one of ten stadiums in Major League Baseball that does not have a corporate-sponsored name. The stadium is the sixth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball and has hosted the 1973 and the 2012 MLB All-Star Games, along with Royals home games during the 1980, 1985, 2014, and 2015 World Series. Between 2007 and 2009, Kauffman Stadium underwent a $250 million renovation, which included updates and upgrades in fan amenities, a new Royals hall of fame area, and other updates throughout the facility.

Toma (name)

In European and Assyrian usage, the name Toma is a version of Thomas, originating from Aramaic t’om’a, meaning twin. In the Russian language, Toma may be a diminutive of the male first name Avtonom.It is also a female name, meaning "date palm tree", derived from Tamar, which is a Hebrew Bible name.

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