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Sunday, March 3, 2013

Experts agree – bat signatures aren’t real

By BILL WAGNER

Babe Waxpak

Dear Babe: I am hoping you can help me with a mystery. I have a regular no name bat that is stamped “1962 Sportswriters Convention.” There are several signatures on the bat, but not long ways, but around the bat. The one signature that I believe was from the event is Casey Stengel. He signed it and then put “1962 S.W.C.” below his name. The bat was owned by a sportswriter. The other signatures, that I believe were added over time include: Mickey Mantle, Goose Goslin, Walt Alston, Jackie Robinson, Roger Maris and Jimmie Foxx. They all signed around the bat. I also bought a bat and tried signing my name around the bat and no matter how many times I tried, I was pretty bad. I found 1 article that talks about the Sports Writers Convention in 62 but all it says is it was held. I have had several people look at the bat and some say all the signatures are fake and two have said it is very real.

– R.G., Sanford, Fla. ...

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Dear Babe: I am hoping you can help me with a mystery. I have a regular no name bat that is stamped “1962 Sportswriters Convention.” There are several signatures on the bat, but not long ways, but around the bat. The one signature that I believe was from the event is Casey Stengel. He signed it and then put “1962 S.W.C.” below his name. The bat was owned by a sportswriter. The other signatures, that I believe were added over time include: Mickey Mantle, Goose Goslin, Walt Alston, Jackie Robinson, Roger Maris and Jimmie Foxx. They all signed around the bat. I also bought a bat and tried signing my name around the bat and no matter how many times I tried, I was pretty bad. I found 1 article that talks about the Sports Writers Convention in 62 but all it says is it was held. I have had several people look at the bat and some say all the signatures are fake and two have said it is very real.

– R.G., Sanford, Fla.

For starters, Da Babe had no more luck than you did in trying to track down info on the convention.

As we have seen over the years, especially with “Operation Bullpen” memorabilia, most folks can find someone who will authenticate an item as real.

That said, none of the experts Da Babe contacted thought the signatures were authentic.

“I do not believe the signature is genuine. Goslin does not look right either,” said Ronald Keurajian, author of “Baseball Hall of Fame Autographs, A Reference Guide.”

The key issue with this bat is the way it was supposedly signed. As you noted, it is virtually impossible to sign a bat across the grain i.e. around the barrel.

“You’ve got me on this one. I’ve never seen anything like it. Never seen a bat signed that way either. I’m not sure those signatures aren’t facsimiles,” said Mike Breeden, a Sports Collectors Digest columnist and autograph expert.

“I’m not an autograph expert, but I’ve got to say that this particular item is raising a lot of red flags to me with reference to authenticity,” Robert Lifson, president of www.RobertEdwardsAuctions.

“Although the bat’s signatures appear to be accurate facsimiles, I have never seen this type of bat before,” said Troy Kinunen of www.mearsonline.com. “I would need to have it in hand to determine if the signatures were stamped, burned in, decals, or applied in ink. I have seen sports writers commemorative bats, and they were factory-stamped at H&B (Hillerich & Bradsby).”

“I remember this bat from some time ago. The signatures are not real. Never have seen constant writing in the opposite way that many were signed. Also, to me, the … the signatures do not appear right. This bat came out during the flood of forgeries in the ’90s, from what I can remember,” said Mike Gutierrez, consignment director for Heritage Auctions (www.ha.com).

“The signatures are fake – without a shadow of a doubt,” said Mike Heffner, president of www.Lelands.com. “I have seen bats from these conventions, but they have all had the years and markings burned in.”

Babe note

The hits just keep coming for the 2012 NFL rookie class.

Topps latest product is Magic Football, which is loaded with base, insert and autographed cards of the top 2012 rookies. Andrew, Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and Trent Richardson among others signed cards. There’s a dual autograph card signed by Luck and Griffin. For a complete checklist, visit www.sportscardradio.com/ and click on “Product Reviews.”

Babe Waxpak is written by Bill Wagner. If you have a question for Babe Waxpak, include your full name and hometown, the card number, year and manufacturer or send a photocopy. Please do not send cards. The address is: Babe Waxpak, Box 492397, Redding CA 96049-2397 or email babewaxpak@charter.net.