George Toma was officially inducted as the 25th member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame on September 21, 2012, in a pregame ceremony in the ideal location – the immaculately groomed field of Kauffman Stadium. (The previously scheduled August 31 induction ceremony was canceled due to a downpour of much needed rain.)
Joining the on-field gathering of dignitaries including Team Owner David Glass, Club President Dan Glass, Julia Irene Kauffman, Royals alumni and fellow Hall of Fame members were Toma’s wife, Donna, son, Ryan, and grandson, Joey, and current Royals’ Head Groundskeeper Trevor Vance and Chiefs’ Head Groundskeeper Andre Bruce.
George Toma walks the blue carpet, flanked by current Kansas City Royals players, to take his place on the field for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
PHOTOS BY STEVE TRUSTY.
Toma started his career at age 13, stepping into his first head groundskeeper position at the age of 16. He came to Kansas City in 1957 to become head groundskeeper for the Athletics at old Municipal Stadium, turning the weed-filled turf into a field loved by players and esteemed for excellence throughout the world of sports. He served as head groundskeeper for the Royals starting in 1969, preparing the field for the team’s initial season and every season through 1995. He worked on multiple other fields during that period and beyond, including the Chiefs’ field and every Super Bowl field, always going the extra step to provide the best possible playing surface.
Toma said, “It’s unbelievable to be here and inducted into this great Hall of Fame. I don’t have the words to express how I feel. Being a coal miner’s son from Pennsylvania, I never thought anything like this would happen.” In expressing his gratitude, Toma stated, “There are thousands of people who have their fingerprints on this award. There’s no George Toma without the people I worked with.”