How to sign a baseball – tips for signing a team baseball, where is the “sweet spot” for signing a baseball, where to ask a player to sign for the most value, and more pro tips for giving and getting baseball autographs.
I was 10 years old and we just finished our baseball season. I was sitting at our local pizza parlor waiting for our team trophy presentation when our coach passed around a box of baseballs. Every player would sign each baseball and a team signed baseball would be given with a trophy as a reminder of our year.
I was so excited to sign a baseball. This was my first time and I wanted to make it perfect. Should I print my name? Should I scribble something no one could read? First name only or should I write my whole name? Ok I was ready to sign. I grabbed a baseball and signed “Doug B”, I repeated this until every baseball was signed.
Fast forward to high school and I stumble across this signed ball in my room and I see how unorganized the signatures were and how 10 names barely fit on the baseball. Our high school coach played in the big leagues and he showed us how to correctly sign a team baseball. I was fortunate to learn this early in my career because I still play with players that don’t know the proper etiquette in signing a baseball.
How to sign a team baseball
This is simple but not often taught, there are a few rules to follow.
- This is not a free for all. Understand that 24 other players need to fit their names on the ball as well. Don’t make your name too big.
- Turn the ball so the horseshoe is pointing down. From this position make the first signature as close as possible to the top of the horseshoe signing from seam to seam. The following signatures should follow just beneath, so they will be stacked on top of each other in an orderly row. Keep your signature close to the one above yours.
- Leave the sweet spot for the manager. As the signatures move down the baseball the seams start to get closer together. Where the seams are the closest is the “sweet spot”. There is only one, this is reserved for the manager. The other sweet spot area can’t be signed because it is printed with the type of ball you are using. The manager will sign across the sweet spot. This is the opposite direction from every other signature on the baseball.
As you work down the baseball it will get more difficult to get your name on the ball because the seams get closer together. Give it a little extra attention and you should be able to fit it in the small area.
What kind of pen should I use for signing a baseball?
- Fine point sharpie
- Ball point pen – Think ink, NOT a gel pen. Gel pens work great on paper, but they take longer to dry on a baseball and are pretty much a guaranteed way to end up with a smudged, smeared autograph
These are the two best options for a legible signature that won’t fade over time.
In my opinion
I believe its respectful to make your autographs legible. If you have problems with your penmanship at least incorporate your uniform number into the autograph. I know if many people want an autograph it’s easy to want to scribble and move on your way. It doesn’t take much extra time to make it legible, the fans will appreciate it when your name is the only one they can read the next day.
Extra Tip for getting valuable autographs
(Also use these tips as guidelines for how to sign a baseball if you are the only player signing it)
If you want a player to sign a baseball for you and you intend for his name to be the only one on the baseball ask for him to sign it on the “sweet spot”. This does two things.
- It makes the ball look nicer when displayed on a shelf or ball holder.
- It adds value. The “sweet spot” is the desired autograph spot for autograph seekers.
More pro tips for serious baseball players
- See all FREE pro tips and instruction for hitting
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- and more free baseball instruction for first base | second base | shortstop | third base | outfield | catchers.