You can almost hear the smile in George Scott III’s voice when you ask him to describe how he remembers his late father, former Red Sox first baseman George “Boomer” Scott.
“Oh man, he was a character,” the younger Scott said. “He was a great guy.”
It feels fitting that George III still calls his dad Boomer, the nickname by which baseball fans in the 1960s and ’70s knew Scott.
After all, he was more than just a burly slugger from Greenville, Miss., who “moved like a cat” on the field, making three All-Star appearances, winning eight Gold Gloves, and earning enshrinement into the Red Sox Hall of Fame.
He was also the man known for calling his titanic home runs “taters” and his award-winning glove “Black Beauty” — serious on the field but a jokester off it.
Eight years after the senior Scott’s death, his son is on a quest to share Boomer’s legacy and character with the baseball world once again.
Scott III is overseeing the release and auction of a limited edition 12-card NFT collection, featuring both animated clips and portraits, honoring his father’s career and life.
The digital cards, designed by artists Robert Caulk and Dan Goldstein, include commemorations of the elder Scott’s Gold Glove titles as well as his home run title in the 1975 season.
Scott III says he was inspired by the wave of athletes creating their own NFTs — “non-fungible tokens” — one-of-a-kind items, almost like an original masterpiece painting, meant to be owned rather than traded.
“It’s one of the hottest things in sports memorabilia right now,” Scott III said.
NFTs are typically sold using cryptocurrency units, like Ethereum, but can be exchanged later for US dollars. Some sports-related NFTs, like one illustrating a LeBron James dunk, have sold for tens of thousands of dollars.
But for Scott III, the collection is about far more than getting into the cryptocurrency market and earning a payday.
It’s about honoring his father’s legacy and accomplishments in the game of baseball.
‘A great guy, and a great player’
Only after telling you about his father’s personality will George Scott III tell you what he thinks of Boomer as a ballplayer. But he doesn’t disappoint.
“One of the best athletes I’ve ever seen,” Scott III said. “He could have got drafted by the NBA and the NFL. Baseball was the ‘least best’ sport he played. He was definitely a legend.”
Boomer Scott did indeed love basketball more than baseball. But a professional baseball contract offered a signing bonus, and his family needed the money; his mother worked three jobs to keep the house running in the South during the “cotton-picking days,” as his son tells it.
Boomer NFT launch May 14th. The winning bid of this digital animation NFT will also recieve the actual autographed bat and autographed ball, a copy of LONG TATERS and 2 tickets to any MLB game of the regular season after July 15th. Please check us out on rarible and opensea. #NFT pic.twitter.com/4Y07cXApRT— BoomerJrSportsNFTCollection (@boomerjr_nft) May 13, 2021
The Red Sox signed Scott as an amateur free agent in 1962 after he was discovered by Southern scout Ed Scott — a former Negro League player who first discovered a future star named Henry Aaron.
Four years later, he made the American League All-Star team as a rookie and started all 162 games for Boston in 1966 — the only rookie in franchise history to do so. He then played first base for the “Impossible Dream” Red Sox who shocked the league and went to the 1967 World Series.
He topped 20 home runs six times in his career, with his career high of 36 in 1975 tying him for the league lead with Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
After a five-year stint with Milwaukee in the middle of his career, he returned to the Red Sox from 1977-79 before retiring.
Making things right with The Boomer
The elder Scott’s time in the league, and in Boston specifically, wasn’t always rosy.
Scott’s signing in 1962 made him one of the first Black players associated with the Red Sox, who had broken their color barrier only three years earlier when they promoted Elijah “Pumpsie” Green to the big leagues in 1959.
One story tells how minor league teammates came to Scott’s hotel room dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes one night as a “prank.”
Things grew even more hostile when he made it to the majors, says his son, especially away from Fenway Park.
“He wore a helmet on first base instead of a hat because when he’d be on road games, people would throw stuff at him from the stands,” the younger George explained.
His father also reportedly had a difficult relationship with no-nonsense Red Sox manager Dick Williams, who he felt singled him out for especially harsh criticism beyond what was directed toward other players.
Though he was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2006, Boomer still carried resentments toward the organization for not offering him a job after his playing career — a grievance that was never smoothed over before he died in 2013 despite his son’s efforts.
“I told him, ‘You’ve got to leave the past in the past and give this new regime [under current owner John Henry] a chance to treat you fairly, which they would have,” Scott III said, adding that there were plans to open a barbecue restaurant at Fenway in his father’s name before his death.
“They wanted to make it right with The Boomer.”
Pushing for ‘a dream come true’
These days, George Scott III — a former Red Sox minor league player himself — says he has a much better relationship with the organization than his father and even comes to games every now and again.
But he’s still intent on giving his dad and other baseball legends the spotlights he feels they deserve.
He even has ambitions for doing a collection series specifically for Red Sox first basemen, including his former minor league teammate Mo Vaughn. “I gave Sam Horn and Mo a call last week about this,” he said.
But the biggest prize on the younger George Scott’s mind? Getting his father on the Eras Committee’s “Modern Baseball” ballot for the Hall of Fame in 2023. Scott III says he already sent in an application for Boomer’s credentials and will provide a letter to the Eras Committee to make his case.
Whatever happens with the vote, Scott III says seeing the name George Charles Scott Jr. on a Hall of Fame ballot would be a victory itself.
“That would have been a dream come true for him.”