NEW YORK -- The sign man of Shea Stadium died Thursday.
Karl Ehrhardt was a fixture at Mets games from 1964 through 1981, famous for holding up tailored signs after key plays that displayed his
pleasure or frustration with the team.
He was 83 and died at his home in the Glen Oaks section of
Queens, according to his daughter Bonnie Troester. Ehrhardt had
been recovering from vascular surgery.
Ehrhardt's block-lettered signs served as color commentary for
both fans in the stands and TV viewers at home. He carried dozens
to each game, some witty, some biting.
"Jose, Can You See?" was a regular when Mets outfielder after
Jose' Cardenal struck out. "It's Alive!" was for hitters who
broke out of a slump.
"Just Great!" was for more spectacular moments.
Only the Mets 1969 World Series victory left him speechless. The
sign he raised high after the last out read, "There Are No
At one point he had about 1,200 signs to choose from.
"I just called them the way I saw them," Ehrhardt told The New
York Times in 2006.
"Before I went to the ballpark, I would try to crystal-ball
what might happen that particular day," he said. "I would read
all the newspapers to learn who was hot and who was in a slump,
stuff like that, and create my signs accordingly."
Ehrhardt wasn't always a Mets fan. He grew up rooting for the
Dodgers in Brooklyn before switching to the Mets in the early
"He was part of the happening that Shea became," said Bob
Mandt, former Mets vice president for baseball operations.
Ehrhardt was born in Unterweissbach, Germany. He moved to the
United States when he was six years old and later served as a
translator for U.S. forces during World War II.
He graduated from the Pratt Institute with a design art degree
after the war and worked for American Home Foods.
His wife, Lucille Schneyer, died in 1997. He is survived by a
daughter, a son and two grandchildren.