Did you ever wonder what kind of mud they use and why? Mud is mud right? Apparently that’s not the case.
This started in 1938 when an umpire was complaining to Lena Blackburne (third base coach for the old Philadelphia Athletics), about the poor condition of the baseballs used by the American League.
Up to this point, plain old mud to prep the baseballs.
What was needed was something to remove the shine, but not soften the cover.
It seems Blackburne took this as a personal challenge. He headed home to Burlington County and started to check the mud along the tributaries of the Delaware River. After some searching he found mud with the consistency with which he was looking for.
He headed home and took a sample to the Athletics field house. He rubbed a few baseballs with his newfound mud and voila, it worked great, didn’t smell, and it didn’t turn the baseballs black.
Shortly thereafter, the American League adopted the marvelous mud. By the time Blackburne kicked the bucket in the 50’s every major and almost all of the minor league teams in the US were using his New Jersey Mud.
Blackburne willed his business to his buddy John Haas, who used to go with Blackburne on his mud seeking adventures. Haas then turned the business over to his son-in-law Burns Bintliff who has since passed it onto his son Jim. He and his family currently run the operation.
<—(This is not Jim & family)
Every July, the Bintliff’s take a voyage to the “magic mud hole” and scoop up hundreds of pounds of the Marvelous muck, storing it until spring.
Then it’s packed up sent to major, minor and independent leagues all over the country.
Jim will neither confirm nor deny if he adds a “secret sauce” to his “magic mud”.
Other methods and muds have been tried to de-glaze the baseballs, but none of them so far have made the cut.
Now you know…D