At 90 years old, Willie Mays is willing to evolve with the game. The legendary Hall of Famer has collaborated with the Costacos Collection to release an exclusive NFT, launching himself directly into the emerging blockchain collectibles market. Initially Mays was skeptical about the idea, but after digital artist Mike Campau explained the vision and the technology, the legend stepped up to the plate.
“I’m used to tokens you can hold in your hand,” Mays said to Campau. “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.”
The Coastacos Collection released the 90th birthday celebration drop on October 24th with a 48-hour bidding window on the Nifty Gateway. A late bidding war raised the final bid to $50,000. The auction pushed Mays’ name even further to the forefront during the 2021 World Series, as the series MVP is also named in his honor.
Mays will donate the entire proceeds to the Say Hey Foundation in their efforts to revitalize baseball in Alabama. The funds will support a new baseball academy for underprivileged youth in Mays’ hometown, as well as restore historic Rickwood Field.
The exclusive NFT features personal document from Mays’ early life, narrated by renown broadcaster Bob Costas. It tracks his path from Fairfield Industrial High in Alabama to his Negro League days with the Birmingham Black Barons. Also included is the letter from the New York Giants purchasing his contract from Birmingham for the sum of $10,000. The winning bidder will receive a 65” Samsung The Frame to display the digital collectible. Additionally, whomever owns the piece on Mays’ 91st birthday (May 6, 2022) will have access to a gallery print of the NFT.
Costacos Collection founder John Costacos saw this opportunity to not only pay tribute to one of his idols, but also use this partnership to support Mays’ efforts with the Say Hey Foundation.
“In the mid-1960s, I learned to read a box score by stealing my dad’s paper to see what magic Willie Mays had done the night before,” Costacos said, “Yet with all the historic moments in his career, Willie, the humblest GOAT you’ll ever meet, asked us to focus not on his 24 All Star Games, 2 MVP awards, World Series victory in ‘54, his 12 Gold Gloves or 660 home runs – rather, he saw this as a unique opportunity to pay tribute to his roots and earliest days growing up in Fairfield, Alabama. We’re honored to partner with the great Willie Mays and to give fans an opportunity to connect with the legend through one-of-a-kind digital art in support of the Say Hey Foundation.”