frequently asked questions

Who started the Ghost Players?

The concept of the Ghost Players was first created by W.P.Kinsella when he wrote the story, SHOELESS JOE. His characters were brought to the big screen by producers of the FIELD OF DREAMS movie.

Keith Rahe, lives on a farm just on the other side of where Field of Dreams was filmed. He knew many of the actors who had played Ghost Players in the movie. One day he asked the guys to surprise the tourists by having them suit up, walk through the cornfield, and start playing ball. Hear the full story from Keith yourself by watching GHOST PLAYER: RELIVE THE MAGIC documentary.

How did the Ghost Player Documentary come about?

Joe Scherrman began video taping his friends as they played Ghost Players out at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.

Was Joe a Ghost Player?

Yes, his nicknames were "Clueless Joe" and "Jump Joe Japan, the Man with the Plan".

Where is the Field of Dreams?

The site where Field of Dreams was filmed is in Dyersville, Iowa, which is in Dubuque County, just north of Highway 20.

What is the Ghost Player movie?

It is a baseball documentary. Unlike most sports documentaries, this film focuses on people who almost made it to fame. Many of the Ghost Players played semi-professional baseball at some point in their lives. A few even made major league relationships such a Ron (Hank) Lucas who played for Tommy Lasorda. Hank tells a great story of being on Lasorda's team in the Ghost Player DVD. It is also in the companion book, Travels with Ghosts and Other Tales.

How are Dyersville, Iowa Field of Dreams, Go the Distance, and the Ghost Players connected?

The Ghost Players formed after the film, FIELD of DREAMS, was shot in Dyersville, Iowa. The sentence, "Go the Distance" was in the film although it could also describe the journeys the Ghost Players took as they traveled the world.

How can I learn more about Shoeless Joe Jackson's connection to the Field of Dreams?

The only connections we know about Shoeless Joe and the Field of Dreams are the movie, FIELD OF DREAMS starring Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones.

How can I learn more about Shoeless Joe Jackson?

There is an entire chapter about Shoeless Joe Jackson in the book Travels with Ghosts and Other Tales. The Society for American Baseball Research is also a great resource for information about Jackson-see http://sabr.org or the Library of Congress' American Memories site: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html

What kinds of sports memorabilia do you have on your eBay store site?

Our items are great gifts for sports fans in general but especially as gifts for the baseball memorabilia collector. We have the official movie poster for the Field of Dreams Ghost Player's documentary, GHOST PLAYER: RELIVE THE MAGIC, as well as a coffee mug that transitions from an empty field of corn into a field with emerging Ghost Players as the mug gets hot.

Do you have any items from the Field of Dreams for sale?

Images from the Field of Dreams movie site can be seen in the DVD GHOST PLAYER: RELIVE THE MAGIC and in the book, Travels with Ghosts and Other Tales.

What other kinds of items are for sale on your Field of Dreams Ghost Player store?

Hats, shirts, posters (mini-sized and official one-sheets), books, DVDs and a commemorative coin that was created for Patriot Night at the Ballpark 2009 are all available for purchase at our store.

What was so special about Patriot Night at the Ballpark 2009?

That night marked the first time the Ghost Players played together since the Last Ghost Sunday that was held on Sunday, September 30, 2007. This also marked the first time the team played a military team on the Ghost's home base. In years past, the team had played dozens of US military teams around the globe.

Why did you create a collector's coin?

When the Ghost Players traveled to military bases around the world, they were given coins that represented the command or base they were visiting. The players wanted to return this sign of respect and so commissioned the coins.

How did the Ghosts Players end up traveling to all those military bases and countries?

Keith Rahe brought forth the organizational skills and drive needed to coordinate 30+ ballplayers and founded a life transforming organization that pleased thousands of people for nearly two decades. Keith worked hard with the Ghost Players; the Amskamps and the Lansings (the two families that owned the Field of Dreams); and the rest of the people at Left and Center Field of Dreams to create a team that could play games, conduct baseball skills sports camps, and even do a comedy routine. They performed at the Field of Dreams, at events in the Midwest and later around the United States and around the world.

What's next for the Ghost Players?

The Archive, Patriots Night 2010 and who knows? Maybe someone will invite the Ghosts to leave the Field of Dreams and tour again. In the meantime, we have a newsletter that helps to keep our fans informed. Sign up for the newsletter here.

What is the Ghost Players Collection?

The Ghost Players Collection is a collection of video clips taken of the Ghost Players and their travels, mostly by Joe Scherrman. The archive began with more than 200 hours of videotape, which has been digitized and painstakingly reduced to about 60 hours of material that deals directly with the Ghost Players and their activities and travels. The collection spans from the team's early days to special events in 2009.

Does the collection contain searchable metadata?

Yes. Each file in the collection is tagged and named with source tape identity and date (where known). In addition, a team of interns spent many months applying search words to each clip. These are currently available in separate data fields for people involved, location, specific activities, and in many cases short descriptions and transcripts.

What video and metadata formats are involved?

All the tagging has been done within a video archive application called Frameline 47 (http://www.frameline.tv). The original video is in DV format in Quicktime files, with the metadata attached to each file in MPEG-7 format. Web video would by default be MPEG-4 (H.264), also with metadata in the Quicktime file.

How large is the collection?

In original DV format it takes approximately 800GB. An output of good-quality 320x240 H.264 web files should reduce this to 20-30 GB.

What rights are available for the collection?

The web-accessible archive, once released, will be considered fair use. Joe Scherrman will retain rights to the original-quality source material and is the person who should be contacted if you would like the right to use the footage beyond educational settings.

Below is an artistic statement written by the documentary's director/producer, Joe Scherrman, a few years before the documentary was finished in 2009. It is shared with you to provide insight into his process from taking hundreds of hours of home videos, to creating a baseball documentary. Once you've watched the documentary, please send Joe your feedback and reaction to the film and if you think he succeeded in maintaining his original vision. You can give feedback on http://www.facebook.com/ghostplayer?ref=ts or e-mail Joe directly at joescherrman@mac.com.

Artistic Statement for Doc

Why do I create videos and what does it mean to me?

I create videos to share things that I've learned and experienced and to tell stories.

What the Ghost Player (GP) documentary means to me is sharing: the players sharing their lives and talents, the families of the GP sharing in their dreams and allowing them to be chased. And hey, what about all the sharing that went into making it happen? Millions of dollars where shared, for travel, accommodations and food for this large entourage.

I have something to accomplish in life and to share it with others. Creating video is my way to get it done.

How does the creation of the documentary make me feel? What emotions do I wish to convey?

The creation of the documentary gives me so many different feelings. It's a roller coaster. The high when a sequence comes together. The lows are when I fail to help people understand the significance of this adventure.

The emotions I like to convey are love, compassion, adventure, and appreciation.

Why do I choose to represent this piece in this way?

I chose to represent this piece this way because I want people to experience these adventures as I do using Cinema Veriti, the fly on the wall technique. I didn't start out to make a documentary, I just wanted to capture the moments to show our significant others. I wanted visual proof.

What do I call the piece and why?

I call the documentary "Ghost Player" because of what a girl yelled at the ball diamond when she saw these ballplayers come out of the cornfield at the movie site Field of Dreams. I believe it captures the essence of the players representing the old ball players that came back from the dead to play the game they love.

What equipment do I use?

I am using Apple computers/software and Canon digital video cameras for the most part. But, in the early days, I used whatever type of cameras I could get my hands on.

What inspires me? How are my inspirations expressed in my work?

Good visuals inspire me. Emotions inspire me. Respect inspires me. A good story inspires me.

These inspirations that I mention are put into my work as best I can. I am always looking for ways to capture the feelings of the moment. I will never forget what an experienced producer/director, Tim Crescenti, said to me when in southern Japan. It was our first tour overseas. I was recording a young Japanese boy hitting the baseball and running for first base. My camera and I followed the baseball as it shot off his bat and headed to the outfield. "Follow the player, damn it!" Tim yelled, "The baseball doesn't tell us as much as his expressions will." He was right.

What message am I trying to convey to the viewer?

I'm trying to convey a message that there is still a lot of good going on all over the world and in our own backyards. There are many dimensions to the Ghost Player documentary. The love for baseball would be an easy answer, but the love of people and the love people return is a better answer.

How much time is spent creating my movie?

I spend most of my free time learning the craft of storytelling. There is so much to learn and so many places to learn from. I have a somewhat unique situation. Most of my footage has been shot. Hundreds of hours of tape recordings of the Ghost Players and their experiences are on various formats of videotape. The video must be edited, categorized and preserved.

How is my work a reflection of myself?

The video work that I do seems to follow a central theme. That theme is how people react to getting second chances in life and the effect that those decisions have on others. I am going through my own "second chance in life" and it reflects on my creations and story telling.

What artists (living or dead) have influenced me?

Ambrose Bierce has had the earliest influence on me with the French film "Riviere du hibou, La." "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" is another. Barry Hampe has influence on the way I think about story telling. Ken Burns is another influence on me - he loves baseball.

What is my vision/philosophy?

My philosophy is to let the pictures tell the story. In the movie "Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge", hardly a word was spoken yet the message was so clear.

My vision is a story that unfolds as the footage, shot cinema verite, plays out. The audience witnesses the development of individual characters, the development of the team (the team is a character in itself) and the effects they have on the spectators and hosts.

What are my goals for the future?

My short-term goal is to digitalize the bulk of the video I have collected since 1989. I will make it available to the public. The public will be able to navigate through the footage and find the sections that have meaning to them. Say for instance a group of Japanese students want to see the adventures of the Ghost Players when they performed in their hometown in Japan. Let's say the hometown is Nagasaki. The students would be able to search "Nagasaki" and the computer would make available the digitalized footage. If military personnel wanted to see footage from a base the Ghost Players performed at, the person would type in and search the name of the base or country. And behold! The footage shot in and around the base would be presented.

My goal for the future is to continue redefining the craft I love and to share what I've learned with others. I plan to expand my production company and obtain the tools needed to teach the art of story telling.

What is my techniques and style and how do these relate to the medium?

Visual evidence shot Cinema Verite. My style is observational - to simply observe what happens in front of the camera without overt intervention. I am a witness to history.

How does my techniques and style relate to my vision/philosophy?

Shooting Cinema Verite relates to my philosophy by letting the visuals tell the story. You see what I see. You see what is happening at that moment it front of that camera.

I like it that way. Just make sure the tape is running.

What other films have you worked on?

"A Dream is What you Make It"

That is the title of my first film made so many years ago. It was the story of a young male drifter in the late 1960s. He meets a young lady (of course) only to lose her in the ripples of a pond. Some of the footage was shot near the location of the ball diamond in the movie Field of Dreams. Years later, I married that fine actress.

A friend of mine, Dr. James March, Professor of Piano, just a kid like the rest of us back then, scored the music wonderfully. What a talent. The drifter in the movie is one hell of a golfer. Dan will be in the next movie. A feature about a senior pro-golfer called Danny Moe.

Why did you wait so long to make another movie?

It was my quest in life, storytelling, but that quest was put on hold, replaced by family and the family biz. That is until the movie Field of Dreams came to our small agricultural community. Through some bizarre twist and turns I've been given a second chance. You don't want to waste a second chance now, do you?

I started helping some of my friends put on an entertaining, educational and competitive show at the beautiful baseball ball diamond made famous by the movie Field of Dreams. I videotaped parts of the shows for these friends. God what a great feeling again, to have the camera capture wonderful images and stories. Images and stories of my friends as they transform from their normal existence to beyond their childhood dreams. They became Ghost Players.

The notoriety of the Ghost Players continues to grow and so does my collection of video shot cinema verti. I'm not sure exactly when, but at sometime, I realize that I have more than just the escapades of my friends. I have video evidence of people's reactions to the wonderful things the Ghost Players where doing. The GP have touched the lives of so many people, young and old. I'm amazed at the effects the GP have on the Japanese people throughout southern Japan. Then it's off to the Military bases and again the camaraderie and friendships that happen during the shows and after are captured on tape.

In order to tell the stories, share the history, and show the humanity of the Ghost Players to as many people as possible, I have realized I need to get serious and learn the business of movie making. Since early 2000 I have studied the art of video production and story telling. It is my mission.


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