Illegible overload

Question: I was looking through my autograph collection and noticed something, in general, about the signatures of players from different eras. The older players seem to have much better handwriting than do the new players. I just can't read any of these modern autographs; it's driving me crazy! Why is this so? -- Concerned Collector Cursive 101, CA

Answer: There is a simple explanation for the general problem surrounding the illegibility off modern signatures. In the past, players took more time to sign items because the demand was not as high. Today, because off the high demand for player autographs, athletes tend to rush through the signing process so they can sign for as many fans as possible. Many players end up signing an abbreviated version of their name or, with some players, sign items so fast that you can't even make out the name itself If you look at the signatures of Babe Ruth, Ted Williams or Mickey Mantle and compare them to those of Greg Maddux, Michael Jordan or Sammy Sosa, you will see what 1 mean. If fans, before the 1960s, knew that autographs were going to become extremely valuable, there would have been more demand for autographs and a similar illegibility problem to the one we have today.

Might as well face it you're addicted to . . .

Question: I have just started to collect game-used bats and I have one question. Does a crack affect the value? -- Concerned Collector Marion, CA

Answer: It strictly comes down to personal taste. Some collectors like cracked bats because they believe it adds to the authenticity of the bat. In other words, why would a player give away his bat if it were uncracked? Other collectors like uncracked bats for aesthetic reasons. Some cracks are, without a doubt, so severe that it does take away from the eye appeal of the piece, but most cracks can be repaired so the eye appeal is not affected too much. There is no rule that says one is worth more than the other despite what some people say. With game-used bats, just make sure that you are buying it from a good source because there are more important aspects to collecting game-used bats than "crack" status.