BOSTON – Teddy Ballgame is about to become Teddy Blockchain.
Hall of Famer Ted Williams is coming to the digital memorabilia market with a release of nine different cards that follow the No. 9’s career from skinny rookie to Cooperstown inductee. The collectors' items offered by Williams' daughter are hand drawn by Brazilian illustrator Andre Maciel, known as Black Madre, who created the non-fungible tokens for football star Rob Gronkowski that sold out last month for $1.6 million.
“I wrote to him. I told him who I was. I said, ‘My dad is Ted Williams.’ I said, ‘Here’s what I want to do,’” Claudia Williams said, adding that she didn't know whether Maciel would be familiar with the baseball star.
“For all he knows, I’m just some person reaching out saying, ‘Hey, could you make me some NFTs?’” she said. “Just the respect that he showed the art, I know that he knows who Ted Williams is.”
Eight cards come in limited editions numbered 1-9, with the ninth — titled “The Splendid Splinter” — a one-of-a-kind release that comes with an autographed bat, three autographed pictures and an Airbnb stay at a house Williams lived in in Vermont. Each of the 73 cards include the digital autograph of the Red Sox slugger, who remains the last major leaguer to bat .400, hitting .406 in 1941.
The collection also recognizes Williams’ achievements as a fishing hall of famer and a fighter pilot who missed parts of five seasons to serve in WWII and the Korean War. Claudia Williams wrote the text on the back of each card.
The auction begins Monday and runs through Saturday.
“My life’s goal is to keep my dad as relevant and inspirational as ever," Claudia Williams said last week in a telephone interview from her Florida home. "I want to leave his legacy behind when his last surviving child is gone.”