Don't want to battle the throngs of fans to get the autograph of your favorite baseball star? Now you can get a personally signed digital photograph with the click of a computer mouse.
A company called Egraphs (www. egraphs.com) is offering online autographs. For $25 to $100, depending on the demand for the player's signature, you can order a personalized picture ready for downloading on all your favorite social media.
Launched in late July, the company has made deals with 142 players to provide their e-signatures, including Twins Justin Morneau, Scott Diamond and Drew Butera. The list also includes former Twins (Torii Hunter and David Ortiz, among them), as well as former players (including Pedro Martinez and Don Mattingly).
Once you choose a picture, you can designate up to a 60-character message -- that's less than half of what fits in a Twitter message -- you'd like the player to write on it using an electronic stylus. (Inscriptions that are deemed inappropriate are returned to the buyer for a rewrite.) The player also records a short audio message. When the picture and message are ready, you get an e-mail with directions to a site where they can be downloaded.
Collectors of pen-and-ink autographs aren't bowled over by the notion of virtual ones.
"It's a terrible idea," said Robert Arra, owner of RDA Collectibles in Oakdale.
A traditional signed item is "real, it's something you can hold in your hand," he said.