First off – BIG fan of autographs!!
On-card autos are obviously where it’s at, but I’ve never really managed to get myself all upset like some collectors over the sticker variety either! There’s just something really sweet about a nice clean autograph on a well designed card… collecting perfection if you ask me!
Of course some signers have autographs that are more legible than others, and back in November I wrote this post about a certain third-baseman for the Blue Jays – Harry Potter and the Inconsistent Autograph of Brett Lawrie – who is a shining example of this. Of course Mr Lawrie isn’t just the only signer who seems to have issues when remembering what to write when it come to placing their John Hancock on a small piece of cardboard! Just have a browse through eBay and you’ll see hundreds of examples of autographed cards all in rather dubious states of legibility.
However, there tends to be a constant trend when shopping for autographed cards, and that is that retired players, on the whole, provide a much clearer and sharper autograph. This isn’t the case for all retired players (some can be just as abstract as the ‘rushed’ autos of the stars of today) but generally amongst retired players you’ll see some really fine specimens!!
So, I thought I’d share five of my favourite retired players who I feel have the classiest autos in Baseball…
‘The Eck’ has one of my favourite signatures in all of Baseball!! Despite its apparent complexity it’s one of the most consistent autographs I’ve ever seen on a Baseball card, and it always looks fantastic! Clear and sharp – just what you need (and expect) from an auto!
Perhaps one of the most coveted signers on my list, Nolan Ryan’s auto is also a nice clean example how to sign a card. Unfortunately his signature always commands some heavy coin so quite possibly the only sig in my ‘Favourite 5’ that I’m never likely to own 😦
Not necessarily the most legible on my list but still a good, sharp signature from this 7x All-Star and member of the 3,000 Hit Club. Molitor’s autograph is another model of consistency across all the other cards that he has signed!
The clearest and simplest of my picks, Ozzie Smith’s auto is one of the yardsticks that all of today’s players should use when signing their own cards. The ‘O’ and the two ‘zz’s are magical, just like the man himself. His, along with autos of fellow Cardinals Stan Musial and Bob Gibson, are at the top of my ‘must-own’ list!
Last, and certainly not least, we have Andre ‘The Hawk’ Dawson with yet another simple and clear sig! The appeal in this particular autograph lies in all the curves that Dawson uses. A number of small flourishes here and there, while still keeping the legibility intact, is what makes a great signer in my opinion
So there you go!! Purely subjective and aesthetic choices here, and no doubt you’ll have your own favourites as well!
The good thing about all of these autographs (with the possible exception of Nolan Ryan) is that they are usually highly affordable, so you won’t need to break the bank to bring home a gorgeous autograph from a Hall of Famer!
Autographs are amongst my favourite of all Baseball inserts and there’s no reason anyone shouldn’t have a few in their collection!