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2008-02-08 21:17
by Bob Timmermann

Karl Ehrhardt, who from 1964 through 1981, was a fixture at Shea Stadium with a seemingly unending supply of signs to describe plays during Mets games passed away at his home in Glen Oaks, New York at age 83.

From the New York Times obituary:

Known as the Sign Man of Shea, Mr. Ehrhardt brought his big bag of 20-by-26-inch placards to dozens of games each year, from 1964 through 1981. Like Hilda Chester, the cowbell clanger who roamed the aisles of Ebbets Field in the heyday of the Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1950s, Mr. Ehrhardt became a stadium fixture. Cameras zeroed in and fans hooted when he unfolded his signs.

On a summer day in 1979, when a slow grounder defied the grip of shortstop Frank Taveras, Mr. Ehrhardt quickly checked the color-coded tabs in his portfolio and unfurled, “Look Ma, No Hands.” Whenever outfielder José Cardenal struck out, the sign said, “Jose, Can You See?”

Finer moments were greeted with “Just Great!” or “Can You Believe It?”

On Oct. 16, 1969, when left fielder Cleon Jones caught the final out of the World Series, a choked-up Sign Man held up, “There Are No Words.”

2008-02-09 04:05:58
1.   dodgerstang
I just saw my first game in Shea last summer, so I'm not a big Mets fan or anything. Just stumbled upon this and started to tear up. I wish I remembered this guy. Seems like one of the "great things" in baseball that make it the sport that grabs us like no other with stories.

Also, anyone know the most amount of errors in an inning?

2008-02-09 04:34:18
2.   DXMachina
My favorite Sign Man moment was in the '73 World Series. It followed Charlie Finley's failed attempt to drop Mike Andrews from the A's roster after Andrews had made two errors in game 2. The next game was at Shea, and the first time one of the A's booted one he held up a sign saying "YOU'RE FIRED."
2008-02-09 07:48:53
3.   Bob Timmermann
Since 1900, the most errors committed by one team in an inning is 7. That was by Cleveland back on September 20, 1905.
2008-02-09 09:15:25
4.   dzzrtRatt
Shows what I know. I never knew there was just one guy with the signs. I was under the impression that this was a Mets' fan tradition that many participated in.

It should have occurred to me how brilliantly appropriate some of the signs were.

2008-02-09 09:47:20
5.   DXMachina
4 You're not wrong. The Mets had a long tradition of fans bringing banners, starting at the Polo Grounds, and encouraged it even to the point of having an annual Banner Day with prizes and such.
2008-02-09 13:47:48
6.   yankee23
Here's a good article about Freddy Sez, another sign-wielding patron of the game:

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