Lena Blackburne

Russell Aubrey "Lena" Blackburne (October 23, 1886 – February 29, 1968) was an American baseball infielder, manager, coach, and scout in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Lena Blackburne
Lena Blackburne
Infielder / Coach / Manager
Born: October 23, 1886
Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania
Died: February 29, 1968 (aged 81)
Riverside Township, New Jersey
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 14, 1910, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
June 5, 1929, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.214
Home runs4
Runs batted in139
Games managed232
Managerial record99–133
Winning %.427
As player

As coach

As manager


Between 1910 and 1929, Blackburne played for the Chicago White Sox (1910, 1912, 1914–1915, 1927, 1929), Cincinnati Reds (1918), Boston Braves (1919) and Philadelphia Phillies (1919). He batted and threw right-handed. Following his playing career, Blackburne managed the White Sox (1928–29) and coached for the White Sox (1927–28), St. Louis Browns (1930) and Philadelphia Athletics (1933–38; 1940–45; 1947–48).[1]

Blackburne was a native of Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania, and moved to Palmyra, New Jersey with his family at a very young age. While living in Palmyra, as a youth, Blackburne played football for the Palmyra Field Club in 1906. Blackburne is best remembered for his eponymous rubbing mud, used by umpires on new baseballs to remove their slippery finish.

Blackburne broke into the majors with the White Sox in 1910, appearing in part of five seasons, and split the 1919 season with the Braves and Phillies. In an eight-season playing career, Blackburne was a .214 hitter with four home runs and 139 runs batted in in 550 games played. As a fielder, he appeared in 539 games at shortstop (213), third base (180) and second (144) and first (2), and also relieved in one game.

In 1933, he went on to become a coach with the Philadelphia Athletics of Connie Mack. Blackburne stayed with the Athletics as a scout when the club moved to Kansas City. As a manager in the major leagues, he posted a 99–133 record for a .427 winning percentage. He managed the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League for parts of three seasons: 1916, 1921, and 1932. In each case he was hired as a mid-season replacement.

Blackburne died in Riverside Township, New Jersey at age 81, and is buried in Morgan Cemetery on the outskirts of Palmyra, not far from where he lived on Henry and Cinnaminson Avenues.

Lena Blackburne's Baseball Rubbing Mud

Blackburne made an unusual and valuable contribution to baseball when he discovered a special use for the clay from the Delaware River to take the shine off of baseballs before each game. At the time, the mid-1930s, baseball teams used a variety of substances to rub baseballs: tobacco juice, shoe polish, dirt from the baseball field or a combination, but nothing they tried gave the balls the right look or feel. Blackburne searched for the perfect rubbing compound until one day, he found a mud that he liked close to home. The actual location has never been revealed, but rumor says it was from a tributary of the Delaware River, near Palmyra, New Jersey where he lived most of his life. He marketed his idea, and by 1938, he was supplying the mud to all American League teams; because Blackburne was a diehard American League fan, he refused to sell the mud to National League teams until the mid-1950s. Since then, every major and minor league team has used only his product. The mud is still collected today, from a new secret location.

One container, a little more than 16 ounces, will usually last a season. The process of creating the mud was featured in a pilot episode of the television show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. The story of Blackburne's Rubbing Mud was also featured on History Channel's Modern Marvels "Dirt Education" and "Amazing Job Countdown" episodes. Blackburne's contribution to the game has earned him a mention in the Baseball Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

See also


  1. ^ http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B/Pblacl101.htm

External links

1915 Chicago White Sox season

The 1915 Chicago White Sox season involved the White Sox finishing third in the American League.

With the acquisitions of Eddie Collins (over the winter) and Joe Jackson (in August), Chicago now had the two hitters they needed to win the 1917 and 1919 AL pennants.

1919 Boston Braves season

The 1919 Boston Braves season was the 49th season of the franchise.

1919 Philadelphia Phillies season

The following lists the events of the 1919 Philadelphia Phillies season.

1927 Chicago White Sox season

The 1927 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League, 39 games behind the pennant-winning New York Yankees.

1928 Chicago White Sox season

The 1928 Chicago White Sox season was a season in Major League Baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League, 29 games behind the pennant-winning New York Yankees.

1928 Major League Baseball season

The 1928 Major League Baseball season.

1929 Chicago White Sox season

The 1929 Chicago White Sox season was the White Sox's 29th season in the major leagues and its 30th season overall. They finished with a record 59–93, good enough for seventh place in the American League, 46 games behind the first place Philadelphia Athletics.

1929 Major League Baseball season

The 1929 Major League Baseball season.

1930 St. Louis Browns season

The 1930 St. Louis Browns season involved the Browns finishing 6th in the American League with a record of 64 wins and 90 losses.

1945 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1945 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 52 wins and 98 losses.

1947 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1947 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing fifth in the American League with a record of 78 wins and 76 losses.

Except for a fifth-place finish in 1944, the A's finished in last or next-to-last place every year from 1935–1946. In 1947, Connie Mack not only got the A's out of last place, but actually finished with a winning record for the first time in 14 years.

1954 Philadelphia Athletics season

The 1954 Philadelphia Athletics season involved the A's finishing 8th in the American League with a record of 51 wins and 103 losses, 60 games behind AL Champion Cleveland in their 54th and final season in Philadelphia, before moving to Kansas City, Missouri for the following season.

Baseball rubbing mud

Baseball rubbing mud is mud used to treat balls in the sport of baseball to give pitchers better control and a firmer grip on the balls.

Blackburne (name)

Blackburne is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Anna Blackburne (1726–1793), English botanist

Francis Blackburne (1782–1867), Lord Chancellor of Ireland

John Ireland Blackburne (1783–1874), MP for Newton (1807–1818) and Warrington (1835–1847)

John Ireland Blackburne (1817–1893), MP for South West Lancashire 1875–1885

Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841–1921), British chess master

Lancelot Blackburne (1658–1743), English clergyman, Archbishop of York, purported pirate

Lena Blackburne (1886–1968), American Major League baseball player and manager

Lancaster Red Roses

The Lancaster Red Roses baseball team, originally known as the Maroons, changed its name at the start of the 1906 season during a bitter match with the York, Pennsylvania-based White Roses. Some sources indicate that the rival teams were named for the opposing factions in England's historic Wars of the Roses. The Lancaster Red Roses played at Stumpf Field, which is still used today by local baseball and softball leagues.

Mike Welday

Lyndon Earl "Mike" Welday (December 13, 1878 in Conway, Iowa, United States – May 28, 1942 in Leavenworth, Kansas, USA) was a left-handed Major League Baseball outfielder who played for the Chicago White Sox in 1907 and 1909.

He made his major league debut on April 21, 1907. He spent 24 games with the White Sox that season, batting .229 in 35 at-bats. Of his eight hits, one was a double and one was a triple. He did not play in the majors in 1908, however in 1909 he played in 29 games, hitting .189 in 74 at-bats. He played his final game on July 8, 1909. On August 18, 1909, he was sent by the White Sox to a minor league team to complete a deal made on July 9, 1909. The White Sox sent players to be named later to the Providence Grays for Lena Blackburne.

Overall, he hit .202 in 53 major league games, collecting 22 hits in 109 at-bats. He had five runs, five RBI and two stolen bases. In the field, he committed six errors in 39 games for a .900 fielding percentage.Welday also spent 10 (non-consecutive) seasons playing in the minor leagues, from 1901 to 1915. He played in at least 671 minor league games in his career. In 1906 with the Des Moines Champs, Welday hit .359 with 197 hits in 120 games.Following his death, he was interred at Mount Muncie Cemetery in Lansing, Kansas.

South Atlantic League Hall of Fame

The South Atlantic League Hall of Fame is an American baseball hall of fame which honors players, managers, executives, and other associates of the Class A South Atlantic League of Minor League Baseball and its predecessor, the Western Carolinas League, for their accomplishments or contributions to the league in playing, administrative, or other roles. The Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 1994. As of 2018, 113 individuals have been inducted into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame.

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