Any other mud is a dud


baseballmud1.jpgMost baseball fans know why the Umpires rub down six dozen baseballs with mud before each game. It removes the slickness and the shine.

Did you ever wonder what kind of mud they use and why? Mud is mud right? Apparently that’s not the case.

Thumbnail image for Lena, Eddie, Ty cobb.jpg(Pictured left to right are Eddie Collins, Lena Blackburne and Ty Cobb)—————————->>>

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. 

muddy ball1.jpgThe problem was, the mud made the ball’s cover was too soft, leaving it open for tampering.

What was needed was something to remove the shine, but not soften the cover.

blackburne.jpgIt 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.

Lena Blackburne rubbing mud.jpgThe umpires loved the new mud, and the Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud business was born.

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. 

Magic mud hole.jpg

 <—(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.


Thumbnail image for bucketof mud.jpgThe consistency of the mud is described as being a cross between chocolate pudding and whipped cold cream.

 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
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  1. happyyoungster

    Last March, down in Spring Training, I sat with Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel as he rubbed down a couple dozen baseballs. Pretty cool, indeed! Marcus is in charge of rubbing down all the game baseballs for the Milwaukee Brewers when they play at home. He had a pretty good system down pat…practice makes perfect 🙂
    Who does it for the Rocks?

    • "D" The Rockpile Ranter

      Sup Happy, I’m not sure who the “official ball rubber” is at Coors Field. Bet that job looks funny listed on a resume…D

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