Autograph Anatomy: Steve Carlton

Sample 1: Steve Carlton - Upper Deck Epic Signatures

Steve Carlton has been a baseball star since the late 1960's when he played on some great St. Louis Cardinals teams.  As a reasonably priced mainstay on the collectible show circuit since 1994, the previously "reclusive" Carlton has probably signed approximately 1,000,000 autographs in his lifetime - with surprising consistency.  This study will review a few signature variations present as his career progressed, as well as the consistencies in some letter formations throughout the years.  

"The S"

One thing that stands out when looking at his signature from his playing career is that the shape of the "S" in Steve is much different than the current one.  The loop at bottom of the letter bends downward, as compared to the way it loops up in a "smile-like" fashion today.

Sample 2: Steve Carlton

Single-signed ball circa 1987

Sample 2: Steve Carlton

Single-signed ball circa 1987

Sample 3: Steve Carlton

Single-signed ball circa 1998

"The t"

A big consistency throughout the years has been Lefty's formation of the lower-case "t" in "Steve".  Though sometimes writing in a more technically correct manner (see: Sample 1), he always skimmed the top of upswing with his cross.  Certainly a technique that would have cost him in handwriting class.

Sample 4: Perez-Steele

Great Moments  Circa 1997

"The C"

One of the most identifiable letters for collectors of Phillies autographs, Carlton's last name has always started with that unique straight line upward, followed by a hitch before starting the downward half circle of "The C".  

Here are a couple additional "playing era" examples from my collection:

Sample 5: 1972 Phillies Team Ball

Sample 6: 1984 Phillies Team Ball


Hall of Fame -

Sample 3 demonstrates the standard Hall of Fame notation Carlton uses - "HOF 94" with an "open" 4.

Cy Young Awards -

Sample 7 shows Carlton simply uses "Cy" (with lowercase letter y) followed by the year or years.  He will sign "Cy 80" for 1980 team, or World Series items (Sample 8).  Important to note that he never uses an apostrophe before years in his inscriptions - written 80 not '80.

Sample 7: Steve Carlton -

Single-signed "Cy" inscription

Sample 8: 1980 Phillies Team photo

Steve Carlton "Cy 80" inscription

Lefty -

The "L" has a similar letter formation to the uppercase "S" in his first name, especially the lower half.  I have seen examples of the nickname appearing between his first and last name, as well as underneath the "normal" autograph (as shown in Sample 9).    Also notable with this inscription is the break between the "f" and "t".

Steve Carlton

Sample 9: Steve Carlton

"Lefty" inscribed baseball