Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini is turning his Home Run Derby appearance into an opportunity to raise money for charity.
And, yes, it involves non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
The NFTs will be available on the Ureeqa platform just before Mancini steps into the batter’s box at Denver’s Coors Field to take part in Major League Baseball’s all-star festivities on Monday, July 12.
Proceeds from the auction will go toward colon cancer awareness via the Trey Mancini Foundation, a charity that supports those facing the illness. The 29-year-old Mancini missed the 2020 MLB season after undergoing chemotherapy for his stage 3 colon cancer. His 2021 comeback has been an inspiration to many.
“This drop is extremely important to me,” Mancini said in a statement. “Not only is it my first experience with NFTs, but the cause is near and dear to my heart.”
It’s only the latest MLB tie-up with the world of digital collectibles. MLB’s Candy.com announced last week it will auction a physical 2020 Los Angeles Dodgers World Series ring as part of an NFT drop. In April, Topps announced it will issue MLB-licensed baseball cards as NFTs.
The Mancini NFTs were designed in collaboration with TikTok influencer BitBoy Crypto, aka Ben Armstrong, and his NFT leads, Justin Williams and Steven Polizzi.
“Since Trey’s NFTs are going directly to charity, this project has a special place in our hearts,” Armstrong told CoinDesk in an email. “We believe that one of the greatest use cases for blockchain is helping people and this is a great illustration of that.”
There will be a 48-hour auction for the Mancini NFTs. The winner of the the top-shelf item will get the bat used by Mancini in the Home Run Derby plus signed cleats, signed batting gloves, and a one-on-one hitting lesson.
For baseball fans on a budget, there will be 500 Mancini NFTs inspired by a 1982 rookie card of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. for $195 a pop.