A documentary about the afterlife of the ghostly baseball players who faded into the corn in the movie “Field of Dreams” will make its Iowa debut this weekend. Joe Scherrman, of Dyersville, is producer and director of “Ghost Player: Relive the Magic.” He says most of those dozen or so men who were hired as “extra” actors had a baseball background and were from northeast Iowa and the surrounding area.
Scherrman says, “They were everything from a farmer to a banker to insurance salesmen, quite a mixture of people, but the one thing they had in common is they were all very, very good ball players.” Just as “Field of Dreams” won great popularity in 1989, he says the men who played on that field found their own fame continuing to rise many years after the original movie left theatres. While they played baseball games to appreciative crowds at the movie site in Dyersville, Scherrman says requests continued to come in that the show go on the road.
“They started teaching the fundamentals of baseball,” Scherrman says. “They have a comedy routine called ‘The Greatest Show on Dirt’ and then they would play competitive baseball or softball, depending on which corporation hired them to come, and eventually it turned into a tour in Japan and after that, a tour of U.S. military bases, which was very special for all the guys.” Scherrman journeyed along with the men in their black-and-white old-style Chicago White Sox uniforms.
“Whenever I could, I videotaped it so we ended up with like 900 hours of video,” Scherrman says. “The state of Iowa thought there was some historical significance to it and so we’re archiving the footage and out of that footage we made a one-hour documentary, telling the story of the Ghost Players.”
The documentary will be screened Saturday at 12:30 P.M. at the State Historical Building in Des Moines as part of the Wild Rose Independent Film Festival. Iowans who can’t make the premiere can catch the documentary on Iowa Public TV on November 29th. For more information, visit: “www.ghostplayer.us“.