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New biography chronicles George Toma’s career as ‘The Sodfather’

Former groundskeeper to host several book signings this week
george toma book.png
Posted at 10:21 AM, Jun 10, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — “The Sodfather: An Extraordinary Journey in the Shadows of Sports’ Greatest Fields” profiles the life of legendary Kansas City-area groundskeeper George Toma.

Toma spent nearly 80 years working as a groundskeeper, devoting most of his career to the Kansas Royals and Chiefs.

He also worked on fields for the Olympics, World Cup and the first 57 Super Bowls. Toma often hired local high school students to work at Municipal Stadium and Truman Sports Complex, including seven members of the Bruce family.

Toma’s experience at Super Bowl LVII partly encouraged him to write the book alongside author Craig Handel.

The groundskeeper was frustrated by what he saw as a lack of concern from the NFL when he raised issues about the playing surface ahead of the game between the Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona, in February 2023.

In the book, Toma explains his two mottos. He believes the best insurance for an athlete is a safe playing field; hence his frustration with SB LVII. His second motto is, “Do your best — and then some.”

Toma and Handel will hold several meet-and-greet events and signings promoting the book this week.

Events Monday and Tuesday include a panel discussion with Toma.

  • Monday, June 10, at 5 p.m.
    • Unity Temple, 707 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Missouri
  • Tuesday, June 11, at 4:30 p.m.
    • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 1616 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Missouri
  • Wednesday, June 12, at 5 p.m.
    • George P. Toma Wiffle Ball Field, 239 W. 52nd St., Kansas City, Missouri
  • Thursday, June 13, at 1 p.m.
    • Grass Pad, 425 N. Rawhide, Olathe, Kansas

The book is available for purchase online in both hardback and paperback.