Groundskeeper Hall of Fame

Since our last issue went to print, a group of pro groundskeepers has established a way to formally recognize industry icons and turf care trailblazers who have made significant contributions to the profession The association of Major League Groundskeepers inducted the inaugural class of the newly created MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. The first two inductees to receive the honor were Emil Bossard and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man himself, George Toma.

Emil Bossard, who died in 1980, began his 70-year career in baseball in 1910 as the head groundskeeper for the St. Paul Saints at Lexington Park. He stayed with the Saints until 1935, when he took a job with the Cleveland Indians. His sons Harold, Marshall and Eugene (Gene), all served as major league groundskeepers, and his grandsons Roger and Brian, great-grandson James, and great-great-grandson Andrew all are carrying on the family business. George Toma, industry legend and former SportsField Management columnist, began his career in 1957, and included working for the Royals from 1969-1997. Though George is technically retired, he still remains active in the industry and has worked on the field for every Super Bowl.

The award’s trophy was named for Gary Vanden Berg, groundskeeper of the Milwaukee Brewers, who died in October 2011. Vanden Berg was a member of the Brewers’ organization for over 30 years. The MLB Groundskeeper association member voted unanimously to name the Hall of Fame trophy in his honor.

‘Tis the season

As I write this, the Super Bowl is still a couple weeks out, and playoffs are in full swing. But, just as one sport closes out its season, groundskeepers are hard at work prepping for the start of another sport’s season: baseball. Today begins the one-month countdown until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Whether you’re in charge of an MLB stadium or your town’s Little League field, it’s up to you to make sure your baseball diamond is ready for play. See page 22 for more information on everything you need to maintain the perfect infield. And, next month’s issue will help you prep for the season with a feature on spring renovations.

Katie Meyers