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The Legendary Lena Blackburne "Original Baseball Rubbing Mud"

The Legendary Lena Blackburne "Original Baseball Rubbing Mud"




  • $65 Delivered for one 4-ounce
  • $101 Delivered for one 2.75LB Size


Any knowledgeable baseball fan will tell you that the big league baseball teams never
use brand-new baseballs in a game. They're too shiny to play with. So, what do umpires
use to prep the balls and dull the shine?
New Jersey mud.
For nearly three-quarters of a century, a special variety of Jersey muck, Lena Blackburne
BasebalI Rubbing Mud has been removing the sheen from baseballs for just about every
professional baseball team in the country.
It all began in 1938 when an umpire complained to Lena Blackburne, a third base coach
for the old Philadelphia Athletics, about the sorry condition of the baseballs used by the
American League. Back then a ball was prepped simply with mud made of water and dirt
from the playing field. The result? The ball's cover was too soft, leaving it open for
tampering. Something was needed to take off the shine but not soften the cover.
Blackburne took on the challenge. The next time he returned to his home in Burlington
County, he checked out the mud along tributaries of the Delaware River until he found
some muck (the whereabouts of the mud hole is still a dark secret) with a texture he felt
would do the job. Taking a batch to the Athletics' field house, he rubbed some balls with
the stuff. It worked like a charm! What's more, it had no odor and didn't turn the balls
black. The umpires were happy, and Lena Blackburne was in the mud supply business.

Soon the entire American League was using the amazing gunk. Later, the National
League took to using it. Before Blackburne died in the late 50s, his baseball rubbing
mud was being used by every major and most minor leagues in the United States.
Blackburne's mud business, along with the secret of the mud's source, was willed to a
close pal, John Haas, who had worked with Blackburne on his mud-finding exploits.
Haas eventually turned over the enterprise to his son-in-law, Burns Bintliff. Burns in turn
passed it on to his son Jim and his family.
Each July the Bintliff crew heads a boat out t o t he "ole mud hole" and scoops up
hundreds of pounds of the "Magic Mud", enough for one season. Then the precious
product rest in barrels until the next spring when it's packed and shipped to each of the
major league teams, minor league teams, most independent leagues, and many colleges
in time for opening day.
Does Jim Bintliff wave a magic wand over the mud during the winter, or add some
mysterious ingredients to it? That too is a dark secret. He'll never tell. What counts is
that the muck, described as resembling a cross between chocolate pudding and whipped
cold cream, really works! Other kinds of mud and even mechanical methods have been
tried to de-slick baseballs, but they couldn't make the grade.
So, when the umpire yells "Play ball!" rest assured, good New Jersey mud will be part of
the game.