Believe it or not, there once was a time when you could read an athlete’s signature. Now we recognize illegible scribbles, shapes and scratches which we identify with a specific player. Maybe it’s the sheer volume of requests celebrities now receive. Maybe it’s the apathy of my generation. Whatever the cause, the artful full name signature given by Mariano Rivera or Elvis Andrus is a rarity.
On May 17, baseball lost a legend when Harmon Killebrew passed. An underrated great, in my opinion, “Killer” cranked more home runs in a career (573) than all but ten major leaguers. A few days after his death, I had the opportunity to purchase an autographed card of his and I challenge you to find an example of a more conscientious signature.
Signing an autograph was an act Killebrew took seriously and a principle he shared with many younger Twins players, including Torii Hunter. In a video recently published by ESPN, Hunter recalls Killebrew’s counsel about the importance of giving a legible signature. (Incidentally, the first autograph I obtained after being introduced to in person graphing was Torii Hunter’s, and I remember admiring his “letter-perfect” signature across the sweet spot of my baseball).
What do you think has impacted the way today’s athletes and celebrities sign their names?