Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kid, you almost gave me a heart attack

A number of months ago, I received thousands of trading cards from my brother-in-law. He ripped off some kid at a rummage sale and I was the main beneficiary.

I found a lot of goodies in those cards. But there were also plenty of cards straight off the boat from the era of overproduction. Among the cards I have growing old in my dupes box are countless 1991 Topps, 1991 Donruss and 1989 Topps.

There are also plenty of 1988 Topps, which I might have more of than any other set that was ever created.

I happened to be leafing through those same '88 Topps yesterday afternoon to find some cards for a trade (don't ask). The condition of these cards are all over the board. Some look like they came directly out of a pack and some look like they were used to grout tile.

One of the less pleasant cards I came across was this Wally Joyner item. It's plagued by so many creases that Joyner actually looks like he's running from them. There's also an unsightly stain on the upper left border.

I turned the card over for a reason I do not know and saw this:

"Holy crap," my totally irrational side said to me, "is that Wally Joyner's signature?"

Now, those of you who know what Wally Joyner's signature looks like are laughing like hell right now. But I have better things to do than examine people's signatures. To me, this DID looked like a kid scrawled Joyner's name on the back of a card. But then again people have exhibited time and again that they have horrible handwriting. Maybe Joyner had horrible, terrible, child-like handwriting.

Fortunately, we have the internets expressly for this purpose. Really. That's why the internet was invented. To compare signatures.

Here was the first Joyner signature I found:

The ball displays what I've since gathered to be the signature style of Joyner's signature. He signs with a super-wide loop in the "J" in his name.

There is no super-wide loop in the "J" on this card. Instead it's a tall loop. And it's all very messy.

On to example No. 2:

Well, there's the super-wide "J" again. In fact, it encompasses Wally's entire first name.

Also, I noticed that there was a loop to start the "W" on the back of this card, but no loop in the "W" on the first two examples.

I was pretty convinced that this wasn't Joyner's signature.

Still, one more example:

The very card itself. This image was grabbed directly from Autographed Cards. I hope Zach doesn't mind. This happens to be the first signed card that Zach ever received through the mail.

You can see that it also features the wide "J" and the non-looping "W."

Strike three, and you're out, kid.

I'm convinced that the kid signed the back of his Joyner card and then tried to convince his friends that he ran into Joyner and Joyner signed his card. The kid even muddied up the signature a little bit to make it look legitimate and pull a fast one on his friends.

Nice try, bud. You didn't quite give me a heart attack, but you did give me a post idea.

And that's almost as valuable as a Wally Joyner autograph.


  1. I was laughing like hell when I saw what you thought was a Joyner autograph!

    Nice detective work though.

  2. I had a card of Rocket Richard that was signed in that same way. As a kid, I compared it with a real auto I had (my dad sat next to him on a plane) and decided it was a fake and erased it.

    Now - aside from the fact that I probably did more damage by erasing the card, that still gives me pause every so often - what if I was wrong on it? Too late now, though.

  3. I can remember doing that to a couple of 1985 Fleer cards to get an annoying friend jealous. It didn't work and I ruined a couple of cards in the process.

    The joy of being young.

  4. Of course I don't mind. Feel free to use any images on my blog anytime you need. I'm just glad that I was able to help out.