This may be the most unusual Hall of Fame class for the Low Class A South Atlantic League: N.J. State Sen. Robert Singer, key to the formation of the Lakewood BlueClaws, and Lena Blackburne, creator of the famous baseball rubbing mud.
Both inductees have ties to New Jersey; the baseball rubbing mud is taken from a riverbank somewhere in the state. So it’s appropriate the two new inductees will be honored as part of the festivities surrounding the 54th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game, scheduled to be played on June 18, 2013, at FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws.
The Class of 2013 was announced today by Eric Krupa, president of the South Atlantic League.
Senator Robert W. Singer has served in the New Jersey State Legislature for over 20 years as well as on the Lakewood Township Committee for over 30 years. His leadership helped lure the Lakewood BlueClaws to New Jersey in 2001, and the success of the franchise would not have been possible without his steadfast support. His vision of a successful franchise has been fulfilled as the BlueClaws have led the South Atlantic League in average attendance in each of its 12 years in Lakewood.
Lena Blackburne’s solution to preparing baseballs for a game by rubbing them with mud to dull the shine without softening the cover has been used by Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball teams for nearly 75 years. Located somewhere in New Jersey, the actual source of the mud has been a well-guarded secret. Blackburne, a coach for the Philadelphia Athletics at the time, came up with the idea to use the mud in 1938. The mud did not scratch the baseballs, and it had no odor. Soon thereafter, every MLB team was using it. Its use then spread throughout the Minor Leagues, and has been used in every Minor League Baseball game for many years. Jim Bintliff, President of Lena Blackburne Baseball, will accept the honor on behalf of Lena Blackburne.
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