Mike Schmidt Wrote an AP Article Complaining About the Legibility of Autographs from the 2012 Phillies and Every Other Modern Player

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Mike Schmidt is kind of an ass.

He always has something to say, usually when he visits the Phillies’ spring training complex or when he professes his somewhat uncomfortable love for ESPN’s Mike and Mike. [There was the time Michael Jack threw Chooch under the bus, and that other time he said the Phillies, coming off three straight NLCS appearances, were underachievers.]

Today, Schmidt has a new soapbox on which to stand and shout his mindless babble: the massive media powerhouse that is the Associated Press.

Yes, Schmidt wrote an article for the AP today, meaning that virtually every major news outlet in the world will have access to his important message… about the legibility of autographs.


Go, Michael:

This spring, while with the Phillies in camp, I asked the clubhouse guy to get me some famous Phillies on balls for my charity auction. I must sign thousands every year for charity. It's funny how you get tired of the same requests over and over until you need one.

Anyway, I get 10 signed balls given to me in a box that I bring home. A few weeks later, I'm doing inventory on some items I have gotten for the auction and I open the box of balls and I can't read any of the signatures. I study and study, hoping to see a curve or a clue that would lead me to the name.

I asked my wife if she recognized any. None. I made out Roy Halladay, Jim Thome and Jimmy Rollins. A couple had the number , thank you Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Cliff Lee and Hunter Pence. That was a great clue, at least for me, but what about the person who buys it at the auction and may not know the numbers?

My signature's value has never changed over the years. Sure, I know there is a class system in the industry, certain signatures retain value and others don't. In my case, one reason it has retained value is it's neat and you can read it. It is legible, shows respect and looks as though I put some effort into the process of creating a collectible item.


Probably too much to ask for a wholesale change in attitude from both sides. As if the players will sign neat and speak to the fans while signing, and fans and collectors will respect the player's right to privacy in certain areas and not stalk them near hotels and airports.

Autograph utopia: Neat signatures, kind words, handshakes, no pushing or shoving, quality opposed to quantity. Any chance?

Me, I just want to know which Phillies signed those balls.


That’s amazing. I’m too young, 29, to really remember what Mike Schmidt was like. I know that I’ve met him and gotten his autograph at some point, but I can’t remember when or where. What I do remember, however (mostly from stories), is how Schmidt never quite gelled with fans and was far from the type of guy who would happily oblige overzealous autograph seekers. I also remember how he was frequently booed and considered by many to be, well, a jackass. 

Despite those things, what you just read was Schmidt, writing for the Associated Press, complaining about the autographs on a bunch of balls the 2012 Phillies signed for his charity. I’m not even sure how to categorize that. So instead, I wrote you an analogy of sorts:

You know what I really hate? Paparazzi and celebrity culture. Can’t a movie star or athlete go out to a bar, get drunk, and not have to worry about their picture winding up online? If some jackass with a cell phone takes a shot of a famous person at a compromising moment, must it be the lead story on a dick-joke laden blog the next day? And what’s the deal with block-quoting shit? WRITE YOUR OWN WORDS. Too many “writers” lazily rely on the journalistic chops of others to make a living. Oh yeah, real cool, quote an article, throw in a few jokes about peni, and, boom– artwork. And don’t get me started on someone who would be silly and faux irreverent enough to post a sophomoric bar drawing of a Nationals fan blowing the Phanatic. Can’t we go back to the good old days when Murrow and Kronkite and Will McAvoy delivered us the news fairly, but with necessary and passionate context for an informed electorate? I want that back. 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a post to get to about Chase Utley’s hair, which exclusive photo evidence confirms he is having dyed.

[Read Schmidt's full article here, and just about everywhere.]

44 Responses

  1. So, what’s wrong with him stating the truth? You can’t figure out who it is then say so like he did. You are VERY right at 29 you are too young to remember him and what he stood for and against in the game of baseball. So keep your cticisms to you self, #20 has earned his right to speak, write and go to Clear Water and rattle the chains of a few who feel they are entitled, lay people like you, this is what you do, put in your years and earn the gold gloves and other accolades and then and ONLY you can gripe about a Hall of Famer’s opinions. You may think he is a “Jack Ass” but that is “MICHAEL JACK ass to us”

  2. Dude, A-Freaking-Men, finally someone called schmidt out for being the prick that he is. Some HOF’ers try to add to the game and then u have this guy who lives off relevance. Honestly the next time I give a damn what Mike says will probably be the first given how wrong he constantly is. And by the way Mike when are you gonna give back to the guys who are doing this for you? Donate to Chase’s foundation yet? Just wither off into obscurity til we have another ceremony that doesn’t involve a speech from the irrelevance of your opinion

  3. I’m usually pretty loyal to you Kyle, but i think you overstepped here.
    If you read what he was trying to say, these guys do not have clear signatures and it was hard to make them out. It was important that their signatures were legible because these balls were going to be auctioned for charity, and it would be important for the average fan as well, showing off their prized possessions. Even if it does not wind up being worth a lot of money its still important for a fan to show off their signed stuff to someone else and for others to immediately recognize the name.
    I also think Mike Schmidt is an expert in his field; his field being baseball and things tied to baseball. When he speaks to complain, he is complaining about things you or I do not necessarily see, or we do not think is a problem, but he does.
    For example, If James Cameron came out and said no one in Hollywood can come up with an original idea and thats why box office sales are down because people don’t care, we would take note and agree because of his expertise in film and story lines. No one questions his credentials.

  4. So maybe Mike Jack Schmidt should have asked the players himself to sign the balls then he could have asked them to do it neatly to suit his taste for signatures instead of not giving a fuck and getting an assistant to do it. Basically he feels he is too important to do this himself so he gave it to a clubhouse guy to do. Well Mike, If you want it done right, do it yourself. This is why I have an extra large gasoline powered dildo under my bed.

  5. My daughter went to Putt Putt and was behind Roy Halladay and his wife. My daughter and halladays wife were chatting and he came over to my daughter and said ” I would appreciate if you left us alone”
    Dude, your at Putt Putt.
    My brother did tree work for Harry Kalas back in the early 90s. They’re in the backyard at 10am and Harry comes out with a tray and says “Hey, you guys want a drink ?” His dog ran out the back door and Kalas sounded like he was callin a game ” Uh oh there she goes down by the tree line”
    Tru story.

  6. I had Jimmy Pages autograph and donated it to a charity event.
    I also had Jon Runyan autograph a football here at work and i gave it to another Eagles fan at a Wawa.
    Remember….”He who dies rich, dies disgraced”
    – Andrew Carnegie

  7. Schmidt writes for the AP regularly and I really enjoy his columns. He is always very supportive of the Phillies and writes a lot of positive things about his former team and the city of Philadelphia. Mike always followed the beat of a different drummer, so let’s just cut him some slack. I don’t think he was being overly negative with this column. Would rather have read a column where he discusses the second wild-card team playoff format instead of autographs.
    Al TRU: I have heard some bad stories about Roy Halladay. When he is out and about in Philadelphia with family and friends, he expects to be left alone and wants it quiet. To each his own is what I say. He deserves his privacy.

  8. Original guy– totally disagree. Schmidt was always a curmudgeon who was one of the last guys who made time for fans. Him calling out players for sloppy autographs is ridiculous. You’ve never been able to read autographs. Anyone who wants to spend money on one or wants one knows that. I never really quite got the whole fascination (I’d rather just meet a guy), but still, Schmidt is the last guy who should bitch about players not caring about fans.
    Al- great HK story. And bonus points for not having a conspiracy theory!

  9. I am old enough to remember Mike Schmidt.
    The final weekend of the regular season in 1980. Phils-Expos tied for First place. Playing each other in Montreal. First team to win twice is the NL East Champion. No wildcard bullshit. No second wildcard nonsense.
    Phils were losing late in the first 2 games.
    Both games were tied late.
    Both games were won on Mike Schmidt extra-inning home runs. His 47th and 48th HRs of the season.
    One of the clutchest performances in Philadelphia sports history. One of the greatest weekends in Philly Sports history.
    He then was the World Series MVP. The first World Series victory EVER for the Phillies.
    He also won 3 NL MVPs and led the league in HRs 8 (EIGHT) times.
    He won 10 (TEN) Gold Gloves.
    The GREATEST Phillie EVER !!! No debate.
    Michael Jack Schmidt can say whatever the fuck he wants to say.

  10. Just to shed some light on this…I used to collect autographs on a regular basis when I was younh and saw Schmidt at the Ritz in center city. I asked him to sign a ball for me and he said he doesn’t sign balls. I had a card of him and he signed it with the worst auto I’ve ever seen. He only signs his full name when being paid or probably for charity. I can’t really blame him or current day players because so many damn people sell sell their autographs but when it comes to something for charity the players should take their time and give a good autograph. Stop bashing him Kyle, he’s got a point.

  11. Original that guy: I suspect the real reason there are no so-called “clear” signatures on sports related memorabilia is to keep crooks from forging them as that’s the next best thing to identity theft these days. As for Schmidt, he’s my all-time favorite Phillie, but there ARE times when he does come off sounding like a stereotypical crumudgeon. Is that a bad thing? No, but that’s just the way he is, take it or leave it.

  12. Eighteen years ago (sniffle, sniffle), I left Dayton, Ohio (sniffle), with two very bad knees and a dream to become a major league baseball player (uncomfortably loud man-sobbing). I thank god that dream came true (more extremely loud and uncomfortable adult male sniveling and wailing).
    Chooch would never cry like a bitch.

  13. I dont care about Schmidt one way or the other but he’s right. As someone who still collects memoriabilia here and there, the signatures of most of the athletes today are terrible. I dont know if I’d write an AP article about it but I still agree with him. Utleys is awful, victorinos was something like SVT squiggle. Rollins’ is actually pretty good and Doc’s is decent. Giroux’s is the definition of illegible. Maybe it serves me right to be in my 20’s still collecting the stuff but I think its a shame and makes collecting less fun. People want that stuff to display in homes, bars, man caves, etc because they loves their teams and hometown athletes. But who wants to spend a few hundred dollars on an item with a signature that almost ruins the picture its signed on rather than enhances it. At the end of the day, an absurdly slow sports day for this to even be mentioned in anything more than a one liner.

  14. @movich: I agree; privacy is to be respected.
    @Kyle: Meeting a celebrity is good enough for me..got to meet Bob Seger,Wilbert Montgomery,Harold Carmichael, and drank with Bob “The Hound” Kelly at Rexy’s…he went out to his car and signed his 8×10 for me.
    Roman Gabriel snubbed me for his autograph in ’73.

  15. Friend of mine painted houses…early 90s he did Howard Eskins house. Eskins wife ? kept apologizing for all the boxes in the rooms….boxes of autographed items…Mcnabb jerseys…Ray Bourque hockey sticks…
    Mike Schmidt ? Great player…shitty personality.
    We all can’t be Mother Teresa lol

  16. The Eskin story was in the early 2000’s…
    Is being in the collectible business an investment or true passion for the game ?
    Best one i bought was an autographed Vince Lombardi-Jerry Kramer wall photo for my Dad.

  17. I grew up in West Chester, PA. I am 33 years old. I remember we I was about 10 or 11 yrs old and Schmidt was the the coach for a team of Russian baseball players who played at WCU. Myself and many of my friends waited for a chance to meet Mike. All of a sudden he starts bitching about the crowd of kids waiting for his autograph. He says,”Get the fuck out of my way, you fucking kids need to give me a break and get out of my way, I am here to coach not sign autographs all fucking day” You should have seen our faces or those of the parents. Mike Schmidt is a scumbag!!!! Love him or hate him, what a piece of shit. I did get his autograph after waiting hours but what I witnessed was one cocky asshole!!!

  18. Athletes can’t change their signatures after signing them a certain way their entire careers. They won’t be able to be validated 50 years from now when someone brings them in the the shop on “Pawn Stars”.

  19. “One reason the old-school charm and league pride is missing – interleague play. There is no Big Red Machine or Lumber Company that the other league is jealous of. There is no mystery or challenge in facing the other league’s players. There is no Hatfields vs. McCoys mentality. Today, it’s rosters of many who once were teammates, who have played in both leagues or have faced one another many times.
    I remember facing Nolan Ryan in the 1979 game. You want mystery? Hatfield vs. McCoy mentality? Wow, my entire existence as a hitter was on display nationally, and guess what, so was his. It was the best in one league against the best in the other. A classic confrontation. That’s what’s missing.
    It’s hard to put into words. In baseball today, the game is just not set up to create those kind of Reggie Jackson vs. Bob Gibson or Hank Aaron vs. Jim Palmer confrontations at the All-Star game. Those moments were its essence. Facing a legend, not because he was famous for being famous, but because of the mystery, the respect, facing someone I had only heard stories about, someone who was going to set up a moment in time that all fans, and we in the game would remember for a long time. ”
    – Mike Schmidt
    Sporting News July 2012

  20. My story, I’ve told it before. May of 1989, Candlestick Park. Two outs, Robby Thompson hits a ground ball between my legs and Will Clark follows with a grand slam. To me, that was the ”sign.” I decided right then – that was it, my final game. Like I said, the perfect script.
    From experience I know that once the thought of retiring becomes real in your mind, it’s not far away. Knowing the end is near affects each and every moment in the present. A fastball you used to crush gets by you, a ground ball eats you up, your fastball loses 5 mph, you’re always in the training room, you can’t eat another room service cheeseburger. And autographs, whew, don’t get me going on that. Those are the signs, none of which bothered you before, but now it’s in your mind and you see things from a new perspective.
    The end is near and you know it. Entering that new phase of life can be scary. It happens to everyone. Just be glad you are one of the fortunate ones who can leave on your own terms”
    – Mike Schmidt, ” Growing Old in Baseball”

  21. Heard a story when I was a kid that Mike refused to sign off on an invoice from some sort of contractor at his house because his autograph was worth money.

  22. Mike shit is a piece of shit.. 2 bad knees from Ohio.. He cried like a pussy and I laughed in pleasure.. Beat it mike

  23. Although I agree w most of the article and your opinions, I was at spring training this year March 4-12 and I got mikes autograph three different times. He went down the entire line and signed everyone’s stuff. He even stopped to sign a second ball I had for my mom a few rows back. I saw an overall lack in fan appreciation at the games though. Few players took the time to acknowledge us. It seemed to be the trend over the course of the season w the players completely ignoring those little league kids that went to the Park. I’m too young to really know the stories of Michael jack but my dad said he was shocked he took as much time as he did signing autographs. Then again I do understand his argument of players not signing legibly- I got almost everyone but Papelbon Utley Sandberg and Polanco look like childrens doings lol.

  24. Kind of a pointless article but if they are signing something for a charity auction it should be at legible.

  25. I live in the suburbs, and there is a hamburger place a block from my house that Halladay frequents regularly. Im pretty sure he only still goes there because no one has ever asked him for an autograph or bothered him. He’s always been nice though, saying hi to people who obviously recognize him, but don’t approach him.
    I was once behind him in line and he started a conversation about air planes. It was kind of surreal. He is so tall.

  26. Mike Schmidt is a fucking asshole and was always an asshole to the fans. Back when he was on the Phillies, my sister who was around 12 at the time, asked him to autograph the Mike Schmidt baseball card she had (this was at a baseball card event) and he refused saying she could sell the card and make money off his signature. Yeah, just what a 12 year old would be thinking!

  27. I asked Mike Schmidt, “can you give me an authograph” when I was younger & his response was “I don’t know can I” & walked away.

  28. Honestly sports memorabilia collectors always seemed like a creepy Dungeons and Dragons type of subculture to me. Why would you fucking care if some athlete who doesn’t know you and doesn’t care jackshit about you, signs a ball or a glove or a piece of crumpled paper?
    I imagine most elite athletes, whose autographs you’d actually want, are kinda jerks. The last thing they want to do is mingle with people or get pestered by fans at a restaurant. And that’s fine. You do your thing on the field and I’ll cheer for you at home.
    If you want to snap a quick picture with someone whom you are actually a big fan of (sports star, actor, musician) and not just some “available famous person who happens to be dining at same place as I am”, that’s cool to me. But the autograph thing is insane unless you really are looking to monetize it, which makes it tacky and greedy.

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