Baseball Legend Willie Mays Drops First NFT To Celebrate 90th Birthday

On Friday, October 22, the Costacos Collection announced the upcoming release of a non-fungible token (NFT). The line is dedicated to Baseball Legend Willie Mays. It is also an effort to preserve the legacy of celebrated black artists, musicians, and athletes.

The NFT, “The Making of a Giant,” launches today, October 24, in a few hours to celebrate Mays’ 90th birthday. NFT platform Nifty Gateway will host the baseball legend’s collection.

The collection features moments of Mays’ life and career, from playing in the Negro American League to earning the title of Rookie of Year with the New York Giants in 1951.

Co-founded by pop culture artist John Costacos, the Costacos Collection partners with athletes to create NFTs.

Willie Mays Drops NFT To Support Youth Baseball

The Baseball Hall of Famer and former Giants outfielder recently jumped on the NFT bandwagon with his launch.

Mays has committed to donating all proceeds from the sale to his Say Hey Foundation to establish a baseball academy for underprivileged youth in Alabama. The money raised will also go towards restoring the historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, where Mays played for the Birmingham Black Barons. His Motivation is the example of those who helped him as a youngster growing up in Alabama.

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Rickwood was Mays’ first home ballpark as a pro when he played for the Black Barons between 1948 and 1950. This was before starting his MLB career with the New York Giants in 1951.

“I’ve never forgotten the people who supported me, taught me, and helped me find my way,” Mays said in a news release. “I want every child to have the same chances that I had, and this gives me a way to do that starting in my original hometown. Rickwood was the first place I ever got to see professional ballplayers, and I want these kids to learn the game and be inspired the way I was.”

The Making of a Giant

“The Making of a Giant” documents things associated with Mays’ past. It includes his diploma and a report card from Fairfield Industrial High School.

There are also copies of a scouting report and his first contract with the Black Barons, paying him $250 per month. Additionally, it includes a telegram informing him of the Giants purchasing his contract, and a news article comparing Mays’ upside to that of Yankees center field great Joe DiMaggio. It also features an audio clip of sports broadcaster Bob Costas telling Mays’ story.

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“I didn’t understand how these computer tokens worked at first,” Mays told ESPN. “I had to get them explained to me. I’m used to tokens you can hold in your hand. But I guess people collect them the way they do trading cards. And those cards are worth a lot of money now. And I figure anything like that, that people can enjoy and that help me support the kids, is something worth doing.”

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The Mays NFT joins other collections dedicated to preserving the legacy of historic black artists, musicians, and athletes. Before this, Russell Simmons collaborated with Snoop Dogg to launch a line of NFTs. It was dedicated to early hip-hop artists that laid the foundation for the global phenomenon.