The secret of slinging mud

October 14, 2008 5:09:01 PM PDT
Every tense playoff series has its own share of mudslinging, especially when pitchers on both teams are throwing at the other teams' batters.But every baseball game has a different kind of mudslinging going on and it starts in South Jersey.

The baseballs have to be rubbed just right, or else. That was proven during Monday night's Phillies/Dodgers game when the pitching suddenly stopped and the ball was rubbed with mud.

Turns out it's a common practice with a secret formula, known only to Jim Bintliff of Delran, New Jersey. It's a secret he sells in a jar, and every major and minor league team uses the special mud.

Rubbing down baseballs with mud became a hit in the late 1920's when Lena Blackburne, an ex-player and coach, discovered it puts just the right spin on a ball.

But only Blackburne knew exactly where the special mud was found, and it's somewhere along the Delaware River.

"He passed the secret on to my grandfather, who was a childhood friend of his," Bintliff said. "He was the only one Lena trusted with it."

The secret mud sells for $55 a jar. Bintliff says he isn't making a mint off of the mud, but he could if he sold the business and his secret.

But that's something Bintliff said he'll never do.

"We do it because we love what we do. If I wanted to make money on it I could sell the company and retire, but that's not in the cards," Bintliff said.

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