|Signs of the Time|
Promotional poster for Signs of the Time
|Directed by||Don Casper|
|Distributed by||Crystal Pix, Inc.|
|Running time||60 minutes|
Signs of the Time is a 60-minute documentary on the origin of hand signals in baseball. There are several myths in regards to how signals were started, and the film helps to address some of the mysteries that led to umpires giving hand-signals to call plays in the field, base coaches to relay hand signals to players on the field, and catchers to relay hand signals to pitchers.
Baseball of the 19th century was America's most popular spectator sport. Professional teams like the 1889 Brooklyn Bridegrooms drew nearly a half a million fans per season. In watching some of the earliest known games, there was presence of thousands of fans, but no benefit of the signals on the diamond to allow the spectators to know what was happening on the field. There were no signals for strike, safe, out or foul and no announcer to interpret the game. Prior to the invention of baseball signs, the only signal was the umpire's voice, consumed by the roar of thousands of excited fans. Signs of the Time explores the origins of this pivotal innovation and the baseball pioneers that changed the course of the game and history.
Several have laid claim to the signs and signals that have so profoundly influenced America's game but only two deserve consideration. The first is William Klem, the most significant umpire of the last century and the first to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He spent nearly forty years in professional baseball from 1905 to 1942, influencing many of the greatest legends of the game. He was well known for his authoritative style behind the plate and his boastful demeanor in public.
The second man was William "Dummy" Hoy, who since the age of two, was profoundly deaf and unable to speak. Hoy was drafted by the professional Oshkosh Baseball Club in 1886. Through his career from 1886-1903, Hoy was admired by his teammates, revered by the fans, and became the most celebrated deaf player in the history of big-league baseball.
Both of these unique men made significant contributions to the game and each has laid claim to the signs of baseball. But like the origins of the game itself, the genesis of baseball's greatest innovation is steeped in legend and fraught with polarizing opinions. Signs of the Time is a dynamic story of triumph over adversity that exposes the myths and mysteries of the game with fascinating anecdotes of the past, historically accurate depictions of early baseball and interviews with the most influential names of the game. The signs of baseball today influence the way we view America's game, and also how we view our culture.
|Ray Manard||Exec. Producer, Cinematographer, Editor|
|Caroline Manard||Exec. Producer, Computer Graphic Artist, Animator|
|Jim Hughes||Producer, Screenwriter|
|Bob Feller||himself (former Cleveland Indians player)|
|Brooks Robinson||himself (former Baltimore Orioles player)|
|Earl Weaver||himself (former Baltimore Orioles manager)|
|Larry Barnett||himself (umpire)|
|Jim Evans||himself (umpire)|
|Danny Litwhiler||himself (former MLB player and developer of diamond grit and the JUGS radar gun)|
|Bobby Bragan||himself (former MLB player and Texas League president)|
|Fred Lynn||himself (former Boston Red Sox player)|
|Ken Singleton||himself (former MLB player)|
|Bill Werber||himself (former MLB player)|
|Greg Short||Visual Effects Supervisor|
|Rob LaVaque||Composer & Sound Designer|
|Eric McMaster||Director of Photography|
|Crystal Pix||Production Company|
Public film release is expected Fall of 2008.