adventures in penmanship

Rumors recently swirling around the interior of Isotopes Park, similar to a Chindee haphazardly dancing a path across the Navajo Nation along the northern Arizona-New Mexico border, suggested that Florida Marlins roving hitting instructor Andre Dawson was in the Duke City to study outfielder John Gall’s swing in an effort to determine what he was doing right during his 29-game home hit streak were completely unfounded.

A more plausible explanation, at least one that is more in step with my personal worldview, is that the Hawk was in town to conduct a seminar for the players on the art of signing autographs for fans. Unfortunately, since no such seminar was announced to the public, I can only guess as to a few of Dawson’s main discussion points.

Firstly, I assume Andre instructed the players that they need to develop an effective signature- and while stressing that it doesn’t have to be elaborate, adding that just a touch of flair goes a long way. This 1988 Topps card (no. 500) provides an excellent example of that. Note that the sweeping tail at the end of Dawson’s autograph also provides a hint of movement to the photo and enhances his power swing that much more.

Next, I presume Andre would have touched on the topic of consistency. It isn’t difficult to imagine him using hitting as an example of the reward that results from being consistent. The following scan of a 2001 Topps Archives card (no. 77) depicting a reprint of Dawson’s 1977 Rookie card not only demonstrates that point, but also brings us to the next lesson.

If someone asks you to sign a card, ball, hat or whatever, look them in the eye before you sign and make them wonder if you might be trying to place them at the scene of some recent crime committed against mankind. This will generally prevent the more timid autograph seeker from asking you again, and it is something you can have fun with when you are tired of signing after a long day and evening at the ballpark. Obviously, having a consistent signature is imperative to being able to look up from the item being autographed to stare at the fan without messing up. Combining a slight glare with a low voice, if speaking at all, can help reduce the number of autographs you may be asked to give each and every time.

Another portion of Dawson’s seminar may have concentrated on explaining the importance of being as comfortable as possible while signing autographs. Andre would know better than anyone how standing around for hours takes a toll on a player’s legs and knees.

Finally, be honest with your fans, and explain that if you are busy you will do your best to catch them at a later date. However, if any of the graphers appear to also be bloggers, it would probably be best to take a few seconds and sign a card, or two, and thank them for coming out to the park.

– Kris

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One Response to “adventures in penmanship”

  1. Charlie Says:

    Great post! Aside from the fact that he is my all-time favorite player from childhood, one of the reasons I collect so many of his cards is the fact that he cares about having a neat, consistent, legible autograph. Kind of a silly reason I suppose, but that’s also why I collect Rich Hill. Those are the only 2 Cubs players I collect in abundance. If you’d like to see an example of someone who takes no time at all, and doesn’t care what his auto looks like, take a look at some auctions for Aramis Ramirez, and Carlos Marmol. For that reason alone, I have never spent the money neccesary to purchase an A-ram auto. Even though I like him as a player, it makes the card less collectible for me.

    By the way, I like your blog, and will be linking it directly.

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