Willie Mays’ 1st NFT to Feature HS Diploma; Proceeds Go to Say Hey Foundation | Bleacher Report

AP Photo/Ben Margot, File

Major League Baseball icon Willie Mays is getting into the NFT business for a good cause. 

Per ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian, Mays will begin selling a nonfungible token featuring his high school diploma Sunday as part of his 90th birthday celebration. All proceeds go to the Say Hey Foundation.

Kurkjian noted that Mays’ diploma from Alabama’s Fairfield Industrial High School said his assigned profession would be in “cleaning, dyeing and pressing.”

Mays spoke to Kurkjian about moving into the world of NFTs: 

“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.”

Other aspects included with the NFT are one of Mays’ high school report cards, a scouting report, his Negro Leagues contract with the Birmingham Barons that paid him $250 per month, and the telegram informing the Barons that the New York Giants purchased his contract for $10,000. 

Kurkjian noted the report describes him “as a ‘colored boy,’ as all Black players were before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947.”

The scout also wrote that Mays “has the best reflexes and coordination I’ve seen in a long time” and would be considered “a franchise player” if he were white. 

The Say Hey Foundation was established in 2000 with the goal of giving every child a chance by offering underprivileged youth positive opportunities and safer communities. Proceeds go to establishing baseball programs for underprivileged youth in Alabama and restoring youth baseball facilities at the Barons’ home stadium of Rickwood Field. 

Mays made his MLB debut with the Giants on May 25, 1951. He became arguably the greatest baseball player of all time over the course of his 23-year career.

The “Say Hey Kid” had a .301/.384/.557 slash line with 660 homers in 3,005 games. He was named to the All-Star team 24 times (MLB added a second All-Star Game from 1959 to 1962), won 12 Gold Glove awards and was a two-time National League MVP. He won the World Series with the Giants in 1954.

Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot in 1979. He was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 by President Barack Obama.    

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