Thursday, June 26, 2014

1941 stars autographs analyzed

I’d guess that few autograph collectors give any thought to analysis of the penmanship exhibited in a player’s signature.

In the May 23, 1940, issue of The Sporting News there was a feature of such analysis of a number of then-prominent baseball signatures. The feature had the subtitle: “Interesting Deductions of Personality Traits of Players.” A promised follow-up appeared in the March 19, 1942, edition.

The articles prefaced the revelations by explaining . . .

“Hand-writing, it is said, sometimes reveals traits of character and personality. Believing that fans would be interested in analyses of the hand-writing of prominent players and managers, THE SPORTING NEWS asked Mary Ann Peck, who in private life is Mrs. Fred J. Lieb, wife of the well-known baseball writer, to inspect the signatures of a number of diamond notables. For some years, she has occasionally made such analyses for her own diversion and the entertainment of her friends, and her work in this line has attracted wide attention. In forwarding Mrs. Lieb’s deductions as given here, her husband states: ‘She doesn’t know one player from another. I gave her no help on them, but think they are real good. Was especially impressed with Gehringer.’”

Since today’s collector is not likely to be well versed with the personalities of most of the subjects of the analysis, I’ll just hit a few of the highlights.

“JOE CRONIN—This writing shows a friendly spirit, a desire to be liked, and he goes out of his way to accomplish this. Strong executive ability. A man whom other men would respect, because he has control of his emotions and does not live entirely on the physical plane. No matter what he would undertake he would do it well and carefully think it out. He is able to think his way through things without getting into arguments or rages. A very likable, capable man to have as a friend or business partner. Balanced.”

“LEO (GABBY) HARTNETT—This shows a nature inherently genial. The capital letters tell that he is a lovable character, cheerful disposition, kind, fond of people, should have many friends. Apt to argue very strongly, causing bad feeling against him at times. Perhaps he wants to make good at the thing he is doing and feels strong tactics are needed, but his own inward nature will bring him betters results in the end.”

“BOB FELLER—Should have tremendous physical endurance. In fact he has so much natural strength that he might not always put it to good use, therefore, he should always be active in something that requires nearly all of his time. This type loves life, to laugh, eat, etc. He is anxious to make good, even if not for himself—for a cause, or for somebody. He has a sense of humor, loves things to go fast. Very likable.”

“CHAS. GEHRINGER—Here is a type that needs to expand a little more in appreciating his ability. His writing shows that he is far better than he allows himself to believe. His nature is methodical, reticent, reliable. Has a sense of rhythm that should show itself in a smooth grace when in any game of action. Sort of a musical timing in perfect action.”

CARL HUBBELL—This signature appeals to me because it is strong, brave, withstands defeat, never blaming the other fellow. His inward strength is great than physical endurance. Original and not one to stick to pattern. Possibly sensitive, therefore reticent, not caring to have people become too familiar. He has the capacity of overcome difficulties because he has splendid mental qualities. He always is on the level.

BILL DICKEY—A very good signature; portrays sensitiveness, kindness, generosity. Despite love of outdoors and dislike to being cooped up, he is mental, rather than a physical, type. Much success achieved by study and concentration. He must be most careful of the law of suggestion, that it is the right kind, as he is sympathetic to the troubles of others. Aggressive on ball field, but not in life in general. He is a friend in need; never seeks a quarrel. His writing ranks tops in character.

I don’t think autograph analysis could be performed on most of the signatures of today’s athletes, since so many of them seem to be a random assemblage of a few capital letters and indecipherable squiggles.

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