To be considered for induction to the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a candidate must have ceased to be employed full-time in the profession for at least 5 years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual's impact on the community is also considered.
Dick Ericson, Harry Gill inducted into the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame
In voting before their 16th annual meeting, the Association of MLB Groundskeepers selected Dick Ericson, retired from the Minnesota Twins, and the late Mr. Harry Gill, formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers, as 2014 inductees to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame. To be considered for induction to the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a candidate must have ceased to be employed full-time in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered.
Mr. Ericson began his career as a teenager at Lexington Park in St. Paul, MN, home of the St. Paul Saints. After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Mr. Ericson returned to work at Nicollet Park in Minneapolis, home of the AAA Minneapolis Millers. As Head Groundskeeper for the Millers, he moved with the team into brand new Metropolitan Stadium of Bloomington, MN in 1956. In 1961, Mr. Ericson continued in his role at the Met as MLB brought the Minnesota Twins to the Twin Cities. From 1961 to 1981, he maintained the field for both the Twins and the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. In 1982 Mr. Ericson moved with both teams to the Metrodome, where he served as Superintendent until his retirement in 1995. In a career spanning parts of six decades, Mr. Ericson helped to host three World Series and two MLB All-Star Games, as well as countless other events at both multi-use facilities. He was also elected the first President of the Sports Turf Managers Association in 1981.
Mr. Gill, long recognized as the Founder and driving force behind the formation of the Sports Turf Managers Association, had a career as a golf course superintendent prior to being hired by the Milwaukee Brewers as Superintendent of Grounds & Maintenance for the 1975 season. He went on to become one of the most influential figures in his profession. His first season at Milwaukee’s County Stadium included the 1975 All Star Game, in addition to three concerts. He also helped host the 1982 World Series. Mr. Gill spent 16 seasons tending the grounds in Milwaukee for the Brewers, as well as the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. After the 1990 season, with plans to retire at the end of the year, Mr. Gill passed away on October 26th. More than anything, Mr. Gill was a catalyst and a leader, the individual most responsible for bringing together the sports turf industry.
Inductees to the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame are honored on the Gary Vanden Berg trophy; named in honor of the late Mr. Vanden Berg, Mr. Gill’s successor in Milwaukee. Previous inductees are Emil Bossard (Cleveland Indians), George Toma (Kansas City Royals), and Joe Mooney (Boston Red Sox). Mr. Ericson and Mr. Gill will be honored on January 26, 2014 at the beginning of the MLB Groundskeeper Meetings at Marlins Park in Miami.
The Sports Turf Managers Association is the recognized leader in strengthening the sports turf industry. In 1981, when a small group of turfgrass managers, including Dick Ericson, Harry Gill, and George Toma, believed that sports turf could be improved through the sharing of knowledge and exchange of ideas, the STMA was officially formed.