Get the ‘Dirt’ on Baseball’s Most Famous Mud Saturday at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud has Taken the Shine off New Baseballs for More Than 70 years; Learn More at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at a Special Museum Program

June 28, 2012
A sample of Lena Blackburne mud here at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

COOPERSTOWN, NY – Visitors at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Saturday will get all the “dirt” on one of the game’s legendary stories: The tale of Lena Blackburne and his Baseball Rubbing Mud.

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud has been used to “rub down” new baseballs since 1938, taking the shine off the new balls and making them easier to grip. A sample of the mud is a part of the permanent collection at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Jim Bintliff, whose family now produces Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, will be at the Museum on Saturday to present a program detailing the story behind the mud. The 10:30 a.m. event will be held in the Museum’s Bullpen Theater and is included with admission to the Hall of Fame.

Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud was discovered by former big leaguer and then-Philadelphia Athletics third base coach Lena Blackburne. While searching for a substance that would take the shine off new baseballs but not soften or significantly discolor the cover, Blackburne stumbled upon mud from a Delaware River tributary near his home in Burlington County, New Jersey. The exact location of the mud hole is a well-kept secret.

The entire American League quickly adopted the mud as a pregame ritual in the late 1930s, and by the time of Blackburne’s death in the late 1960s the National League and virtually every minor league team used his mud as a part of their game-day preparations.

For more information on the Hall of Fame and its collections, please visit www.baseballhall.org.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is open seven days a week year round, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The Museum observes summer hours of 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend until the day before Labor Day. From Labor Day until Memorial Day Weekend, the Museum observes daily regular hours of 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $19.50 for adults (13 and over), $12 for seniors (65 and over) and for those holding current memberships in the VFW, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and AMVets organizations, and $7 for juniors (ages 7-12). Members are always admitted free of charge and there is no charge for children 6 years of age or younger.  For more information, visit our Web site at baseballhall.org or call 888-HALL-OF-FAME (888-425-5633) or 607-547-7200.