Tigers' Akil Baddoo jumps into NFT market; proceeds to benefit social justice, youth baseball

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Tigers rookie outfielder Akil Baddoo has taken the city of Detroit by storm. Now, he's taking advantage and getting into the new era of digital collectibles.

At 2 p.m. Wednesday, Baddoo was set to release a series of three NFTs, or non-fungible tokens — essentially, digitally exclusive artwork that have recently become all the rage in sports, art and music circles.

Tigers rookie outfielder Akil Baddoo has released a series of three NFTs.

The Tigers said Baddoo is releasing the NFTs as a "thank you" to Detroit for its early support, as the Rule 5 pick has gotten off to a historic start to his major-league career. Baddoo has four home runs, two doubles, a triple and 11 RBIs through his first 12 major-league games. He had a home run in his first major-league at-bat, a grand slam in his second game and a walk-off single in his third.

The three-piece NFT set will be available at akilbaddoo60.com and Blockparty.co.

There will be 25 of the first piece at $199 each, 10 of the second at $499 each and one of the third, and that one will be up for auction. The sale will last for 48 hours. Baddoo's NFTs, in the style of superhero comic book covers, were designed by artist Dan Abrams of Athletes Logos.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit RISE, a national nonprofit which champions social justice and improved race relations, particularly in the sports community. A portion of the proceeds also will benefit Detroit RBI, the city's local chapter of Major League Baseball's youth baseball and softball program for inner-cities.

Baddoo, 22, also is selling T-shirts at his website, with drawings depicting some of his early career highlights.

The NFT market has exploded over the last year, to be worth hundreds of millions, with some sales in the tens of millions. The NBA was early to the NFT party with Top Shot, and players in the NFL and MLB are starting to get active as the leagues devise a strategy. Detroit rapper Eminem is releasing an NFT this week.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984