Fergie Jenkins reveals secret to his signature

Plus, a tour of the Hall of Fame exhibit dedicated to baseball cards

October 4th, 2021

Ever stare at your binders and boxes filled with baseball cards and wish they could talk? Ever hope that the baseball card store was open at 2 a.m.? Well, we can't exactly solve those two problems, but we have the next best thing: MLB's "Carded." The show is an original production on MLB.TV and every episode dives into the latest trends in the industry along with high-profile interviews of players and collectors who make the card game great.

In the newest episode, Hall of Famer and baseball card fan Fergie Jenkins stopped by. Though Jenkins originally grew up collecting O-Pee-Chee hockey and Canadian football cards, he soon got hooked on the baseball bug and is still a pack ripper to this day. He's even pulled Michael Jordan and Ken Griffey Jr. rookie cards from wax packs recently, getting excited like a young kid opening a pack for the very first time.

That may explain why he's such a good signer at card shows. Not only does he introduce himself and help guide the younger fans who attend and may not know who he is, but Jenkins cares deeply about his signature.

"I did a show with Harmon [Killebrew], who told me, 'Write your signature so they can read it. These youngsters want to know who you are, they want to be able to read your signature,'" Jenkins remembered. "And I practiced, making the F like a '2'. My J is like an '8.' It didn't take me long to come up with a really enhanced signature that is recognizable and you can read it."

Jenkins also revealed his least favorite card: His 1974 Topps offering. It all comes down to the photo. The photographer was working for the team and he asked Jenkins to remove his cap.

"I had grown an Afro," Jenkins said, "And when you have a hat on, your Afro is all crunched. They put it on a Topps card, and you couldn't do anything about it. There were millions of them out there and I didn't have a chance to groom my hair."

Next, head over to the Hall of Fame, where Carlos Peña walks through the Hall of Fame's immense baseball card exhibit, Shoebox Treasures. Ever want to see a giant Sandy Koufax card made out of baseball cards? This is your chance:

If that's not enough, have a look through the largest Nolan Ryan collection in the world. Leo S. Ullman's basement holds his 13,500 piece Ryan collection, including some rather surprising pieces including autographed saddles and Ryan's original Topps contract:

Honus Wagner's iconic T206 baseball card recently won our Top of the Pack bracket contest and sold at auction for more than $6 million dollars. But what makes this card so special above all others? Brian Dwyer of Robert Edward Auctions gives the details:

John Smoltz and Tom Glavine were two-thirds of the all-Hall-of-Fame Braves rotation (Greg Maddux being the third), and they share a unique baseball card connection: Donruss used Glavine's image on Smoltz's card in their 1990 set. These days it's a popular one to get signed at card shows and, as Smoltz explains, he loves to sign right across Glavine's face.

Finally, every episode must have a pack rip. So, Smoltz ripped open some 1989 Topps cards. He used the time to do a little reminiscing as he pulled Wally Backman, who he faced in his big league debut on Tom Seaver Day, and quipped that Jesse Orosco "pitched until he was 65 years old, I think," when Smoltz pulled his card.

For more, check out the rest of the "Carded" episodes only on MLB.TV.