MLB Authenticators work to ensure the validity of rare autographed items

Photo by Ian A.C. Johnson

Ever wonder how an autographed or game-used item is deemed “authentic” by Major League Baseball and its clubs?

Well, for those in the market for such an item, there is a small sticker to look for on each item which guarantees its authenticity. Each club in MLB has a group of official Authenticators, whose job is to keep track of autographed and game-used items to confirm that they are genuine.

Linda Kaspar is one of four authenticators assigned to the Indians. One authenticator is required to be on hand at each game, and Kaspar rotates with her colleagues to split up the 81 home games.

“We have to be present,” she explained. “We have to witness everything that is either signed or comes off the field as it comes off the field to make sure that it’s valid, and the person signing it is the real person.”

Kaspar, like many of her co-workers, is a retired Cleveland Police Officer, and she has worked in this role with the Indians for the past five seasons.

“I happened to know somebody that was going for an interview for an authenticator [position], and they needed more people so I was asked to come to the interview and I got hired,” said Kaspar.

These authenticated items are often an important fundraising source for charity organizations that wish to raise money by selling similar items. Having the official sticker to mark an item’s legitimacy is an important way to protect both fans and the charity organizations.

Cleveland Indians Charities uses the money raised through a series of auctions to fund programs such as the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s baseball and softball programs, as well as making a significant annual donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.

Currently, there are several authenticated items available through the Indians official online auction, with proceeds from each benefiting CIC and its partner programs.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the current auction items.

1 Comment

So how does this work with my Fausto Carmona signed ball? it’s authenticated but was never signed by a Fausto Carmona, since he never existed.

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