The original short message service provider of New York died this week. Karl Ehrhardt's signs presaged Twitter and text messaging by more than three decades, and I remember that his short messages provided clever exclamation points to what the Mets did on the field. An advertising copywriter and big-time Mets fan, Ehrhardt was 83, and had packed away his signs years ago. But for those of us who lived at Shea in the era from (roughly) Seaver, Jones, Grote and Koosman through Kingman, Taveras, and Hubie, the sign man of Shea gave us brief tidbits of wit and commentary. When the Mets won it all in '69, Ehrhardt flashed a short, sweet message: "There are no words." In an age before JumboTrons and flashing "Make Some Noise!" graphics, the Sign Man was our SMS system at the ballpark, our baseball Twitterer - the Jenny Holzer of Shea Stadium.
UPDATE: Paul Lukas at the brilliant UniWatch site has a great post on the sign man.