New Jersey Mud

186 Forge Road, Delran

I-95 Exit 1, New Jersey


Click on photo to enlarge

If you are a baseball nut, look down at the Delaware River as you cross over it here, because this is where the famous Lena Blackburne’s Baseball Rubbing Mud comes from.

In 1938 when an umpire complained to Blackburne (3rd base coach for the old Philadelphia Athletics)about the condition of the balls which were rubbed with tobacco juice, shoe polish or mud made of water and dirt from whatever field they were playing on, he went looking in the Delaware River until he found some muck (the whereabouts of the mud hole is still a dark secret) with a perfect texture - a cross between chocolate pudding and whipped cold cream. Nowadays, major and minor leagues in the US still use this mud to mask the ball’s shine and improve the pitcher’s grip.

In 1969 it was permanently enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown. The mud’s source was willed to a close friend, John Haas, who had worked with Blackburne on his mud-finding expeditions. Haas eventually turned over the enterprise to his son-in-law, Burns Bintliff. Burns passed it on to son Jim and his family. Other kinds of mud and even mechanical methods have been tried to de-slick baseballs, but they couldn’t make the grade - only good ole New Jersey mud will do.