Squiggles

In the NYT of March 29th, this piece, “In an Era of Squiggles, You Can’t Tell the Players Without a Handwriting Analyst”  by Tyler Kepner, about signatures from baseball players.

The beginning:

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.

The illustrations, of signed baseballs, are wonderful.

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