Sunday, March 30, 2014

Major League Baseball Players Leave Autograph Collectors Scratching Their Heads

I have a 1969 Dodgers autographed baseball in my closet. It's signed by Manager Walt Alston, and pitchers Don Drysdale, Claude Osteen and Don Sutton, and Jim Brewer and Bill Singer; and outfielder Andy Kosco as well --- not to mention some other names I don't recognize. Some of the other signatures are faded or pretty much illegible. A great collector's item, in any case. My dad got it for me. I'll take a couple of pictures of it later.

Meanwhile, here's this at the New York Times, "In an Era of Squiggles, You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Handwriting Analyst":
The walls of the steakhouse at Yankee Stadium are decorated with signatures of past Yankee greats. David Robertson, the team’s young closer, marvels at the fact that he can read the names.

“All the old-time autographs are really neat,” Robertson said. “It’s a lost art.”

Robertson, 28, is the heir to the retired Mariano Rivera, who leaves behind a legacy of brilliance in the bullpen and precision with a pen. Rivera may have spent more time on his signature than any of his peers, meticulously crafting his M’s and R’s and all the lowercase letters that followed.

Few modern players take similar care. In the last generation or so, the classic script of Babe Ruth, Harmon Killebrew and Rivera has largely deteriorated into a mess of squiggles and personal branding.

It is not just baseball, of course. The legible signature, once an indelible mark of personal identity, is increasingly rare in modern life. From President Obama, who sometimes uses an autopen, to patrons at a restaurant, few take the time to carefully sign their names...
Keep reading. Lots of photos of players' signature, mostly illegible. Heh.