Monday, December 10, 2012

When good autographs go bad

Once upon a time this was a "WHOA, DUDE, THAT IS SICK!" autograph card.

But thanks to the disappearing ink pens that Upper Deck supplied to unsuspecting ballplayers like Chad Billingsley, it is a poor, pathetic version of its former self.

This card in its present form is just plain sick. In the traditional sense. Get it a medic. Stat.

I don't like calling out this card, because it was sent to me unsolicited by the Brooklyn Met at Clear Cut Cards. He knows I like the Dodgers and Billingsley, so he sent it along. Plus he added some appreciated Triple Play stickers.

But the fading signatures on these Sweet Spot cards are common knowledge, and an example of what happens when companies don't put enough advance planning into their project. I think that should be publicized.

In fact, I have this Sweet Spot Signatures card of Chad Billingsley already.

Here is the version I already had:

Only slightly better, eh?

The worst part about the fade on these cards is that the signature is such the focal point of the card that when it disappears, what do you have left?

You have part of a leathery-like baseball thingy, an obscured photo of Dodger Stadium, a teeny tiny image of Billingsley's head and some gold stamping.

In terms of a card's effectiveness, it's at a zero. There is nothing on this card that meets its objective.

This is one of the reasons why I prefer cards that focus on photos over autographs or jerseys or patches. I buy cards for the images of the players, not for anything else. If the picture of Billingsley took up maybe half the card, then this card would still be somewhat effective.

This card reminds me of a card I won from Crackin' Wax a couple of years ago:

This is a mucked up autograph card of Brandon Jones, a former player for the Braves who hasn't played in the majors since 2009. In fact, I think he's out of baseball.

Jones' autograph is positioned with a photo of the Reds' Joey Votto.


I suppose I could try to pass it off as one of those awful Co-Signers cards from around the same period. But other than that, I have no idea what to do with this card.

There is no purpose to this card other than to point to it and say, "HEY, LOOK AT THE DUMB ASSES!!!!"

And I can't do that around here because nobody I know cares about cards.

So I'm saying it to you.

And now the purpose of this card is through.

I'm not much of an autograph collector. I do like them and have a binder for a lot of them. They mean something for players I collect. But I don't chase them or pursue them. Mostly what I do is look at them online and say, "Well, there's no way I'm paying that much for THAT."

To me, an autograph is an enhancement. It's not the focus.

So the defective cards above don't throw me into a rage, like they'd do for some.

It's more like I look at it and shrug and say, "well, I guess they didn't think that through."

And I move on to my traditional cards with photos and text.

It's simpler that way.

Simple makes me happy.

Like stickers.

They're simple. I'm happy.

That will never fade.


  1. That is sad.
    I did not know about this problem. I'm not real big on autographs either,unless I get them in person.Then they mean a lot more to me.

  2. The problem with those Upper Deck Sweetspot cards probably has more to do with the baseball material than the pens that were used to sign them. Except for Official Major League Baseballs (the ones blessed by Bud Selig that sell for between $20-$30), most baseballs will do this over time.

  3. Hey, glad you liked the stickers. I have to disagree, but not about the Billingsley card on which I agree with you completely. I picked up a Keith Hernandez Sweet Spot card that was signed in something more like a pen for only $7, and I love it (and there is no picture at all on it). It is a lot easier to store than a full sized baseball and comes with the certificate of authenticity on the back rather than on a separate piece of paper. For me, at least, I liked the concept but just not the execution on the Billingsley. Then again, I generally also like cards that contain/are made off materials other than cardboard.

  4. I do like autographed cards but those are sad. It seems to be only a certain year(s). Most of the ones I own are fine. I do have one bad one. I think when I was going crazy for Ron Santo cards I lost out on the bidding for some that ended up being the faded ones. Some times when you lose you win.

  5. Typical Bills, starts strong only to fade later.

    Oh no, I hear Zakwin driving to my house to hit me.

  6. I have never seen those faded autos before. I'm glad you have publicized this. Stickers make me happy too! : )

  7. Does he sign TTM? If so, I'd send those back and get them "re"signed.

  8. I opened up some Sweet Spot of that same year and pulled a redemption for a Wade Boggs/Cal Ripken dual signed card. Much like your Billingsley, it is faded all to crap now. I still can't bear to look at it.