Carig: The Sultan of Sod: At 90, famed groundskeeper George Toma still rakes

From Marc Carig at The Athletic on March 21, 2019:

George Toma, the most famous​ groundskeeper​ in professional sports,​ sensed a pause​ in the conversation.​ But​ for​​ the first time on this sunny afternoon, he let it pass without filling the void. You learn that these interludes are rare, and that this particular break in the action is almost certainly not an accident. And that this isn’t his first interview.

“George,” a friend called out, breaking the silence. “How many Halls of Fame are you in?”  Toma moved his hands into his pockets and lowered his head, tilting the bill of his cap just enough to shield the steely blues that have scrutinized the playing field at all 53 Super Bowls. And although he retired from full-time work long ago, he has migrated here to the rejuvenating warmth of spring training, where for each of the last 18 seasons he’s helped manicure the patch of ryegrass that serves as the Grapefruit League home of the Minnesota Twins. “Oh, I don’t know,” Toma said with a shrug. “Honest, I don’t.”

But faster than you can say kikuyu weed, he reached for the business cards that he keeps tucked away in his hip pocket. He tossed the stack onto a table. The cards feature a photo of his smiling face, a detailed photo of grass, two phone numbers, his home address, a list of the most prominent sporting events he’s worked, and finally, a list of the various Halls of Fame in which he’s been honored.

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Originally published: March 21, 2019. Last Updated: March 21, 2019.