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Why Mickey Mantle’s autograph changed so drastically

In the "Evolution of Mickey Mantle's signature," author Kelly Eisenhauer expertly chronicled how the late New York Yankee great changed the way he signed his name over the years.

Reaction to the story in the Jan. 17 issue of SCD was overwhelming, and it included one particular letter to the editor that helps explain how Mantle's signature changed to a more circular John Hancock.

John Dorsey of Tallahassee, Fla., flat-out asked him why. Let Dorsey explain: 

"As a youngster, I grew up St. Louis and was a Cardinals fan, and I always admired Mickey Mantle. Years later in the mid-to-late ‘80s, he was at a banquet in Orlando, Fla., during spring training. I went to a banquet and Mantle and a bunch of the Yankees were there. I was chatting with him afterward and posed the question to him, 'Why did your autograph change so radically from a straight up and down signature to circular, round letters that appeared later in your life and career?' He said it was simple, it came primarily from signing baseballs because of the round surface. He adapted his signature conveniently to a round surface and it morphed into that rounded presentation you saw more frequently in later years."

His signature went from this in 1952...

His signature went from this in 1952... this in 1984. this in 1984.