They don't make bats the way they used to. They don't make the baseballs the way they used to. They don't play the game the way they used to. And they don't sign autographs the way they used to.
Philadelphia Phillies legend Mike Schmidt seems disappointed about the way today's players take time to sign autographs, writing in a column for the Associated Press that today's autographs are nearly impossible to identify if not for the addition of a uniform number or something truly identifiable in the signature of a player.
Schmidt has requested for a few autographs from current Phillies players back in spring training for some future charity projects and struggled to identify a few of the autographed items. Schmidt is not upset because players appear to be lazy with their signatures, though. Instead it seems as though Schmidt is more concerned about potential scams and devious attempts to profit on merchandise that can easily be forged.
"The point is this generation and its athletes have allowed the autograph phenomenon to assimilate into a game, of sorts," Schmidt writes. "Who will be where and when, and what scam do seekers need to run to take advantage of the moment? It's a game the fans and players play every day. Collectors using small children and pretty girlfriends to get sellable merchandise, hiding out at various locations with briefcases, planning their attack just to get a scribble.
Maybe he has a point. For example, how many of the following autographs can you identify?
I can see where Schmidt is coming with this opinion. Easily cloned signatures can make it easy for those with devious intentions to profit. Of course, my own advice for anyone seeking autographs is to either get it done in person or purchase one through a retailer who specialized in authenticated merchandise like this.
To me, getting the autographs in person will always be the best way to go about it. You know who signed the ball because you saw it with your own eyes and perhaps were able to share a brief moment with the player on a personal level if you are lucky. Of course, I am not one looking to accumulate autographs so take those thoughts for what they are worth.
Be sure to read Schmidt's expanded thoughts on this topic in his column. In the comment section below, share who you think has the best and worst signature you have come across.
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