A Red Sox fan made Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run ball into the first piece of in-game MLB memorabilia to be sold as a crypto collectible.
Major League Baseball finally returned to our lives this past week, and though they may not play each other until June, it’s only fitting that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has already found its way back into the headlines.
This time, it’s a blast from the past. May 1st of 2015, to be exact.
Yanks Go Yard‘s Adam Weinrib writes that after six long years, diehard Boston sports fan Mike Shuster is ready to cash in on a piece of one-of-a-kind Yankees memorabilia: Alex Rodriguez’s 660th home run ball, the one that tied the 14-time All-Star with Willie Mays on the all-time list. And he’s doing with an assist from crypto technology.
A half-dozen years back, the Warwick, Rhode Island resident was a 25-year-old financial advisor. At the time, he had been studying tape of A-Rod’s game and secured the last ticket on Fenway Park’s famed Green Monster that fateful night against the Bronx Bombers in hopes of catching a history-making ball.
Shuster remembers sprinting back to his seat when he heard a pinch hitter announced in the eighth inning, putting himself in perfect position by the time A-Rod made contact. He boxed out a fellow Sox fan — who later admitted he would have thrown it back, as is customary –and immediately gave the cameras a thumbs-down.
While pocketing the ball, of course.
At the time, Shuster turned down offers from both the Red Sox and the Yankees to purchase the ball. He taunted A-Rod, telling the New York Post, “If he wanted to take a picture with the ball, he’d be more than welcome. But I’m not giving it to him.’’
Additionally, the home run itself became the subject of a dispute between Rodriguez and the Yankees front office. The feat qualified Rodriguez for a $6 million dollar bonus, which the franchise refused to pay out due to his PED suspension for the entirety of the previous season.
Emboldened by Rob Gronkowski and Patrick Mahomes’ recent successful forays into the crypto collectibles market, Shuster decided to auction off the physical ball later this month along with limited-edition NFT artwork in one set of 10, one set of 100, and a unique 1-of-1.
As of now, Rodriguez himself will not play any part in the event, but Shuster isn’t opposed to the idea, generally speaking. As he told Yanks Go Yard, “He probably doesn’t look at it this way, but he and I share a moment.”
Maybe someone can send an invitation to Willie Mays, too.