Thursday, April 7, 2011

T206- Lena Blackburne

“What do you do with them?”  This is the question I get the most from friends and family who are curious about why I collect baseball cards.  It’s the question I have the most trouble answering.  I don’t really do anything with them once I have them.  Sure, I trade a few, and read the backs, and flip through the albums I put together.  But the enjoyment for me is in the process of collecting.   The enjoyment is in going back through the previously sorted cards and finding the star that came out of nowhere, or the HOFer that I missed the first pass through.  The enjoyment is in chasing down and completing a big (or small) set after time and watching my super duper checklist spreadsheet give me that lovely 100% complete approval.   The enjoyment is in getting something cool when opening a pack.
The enjoyment is also in finding a card with a story, which may be my favorite aspect of the hobby.  As an aside, I highly recommend Bob Lemke’s blog.  His “Uncommon Commons” feature that appears regularly is a great source of information and stories behind the cards.
With that in mind, I was especially happy to finally win an eBay auction for this Lena Blackburne T206 card.
 I love T206 cards, especially when I can get them at a good price, and when they have some sort of historical significance.  I have been hunting this Blackburne card for a long time, and could never score one for under $20.  This one I did, even though it is not in the greatest shape.  I don’t care about that when it comes to T206, however.
Here’s what’s cool about Lena Blackburne:  his contribution to baseball is tied to every ML game, inning, out and pitch that has occurred over the past 60 years.  Back in 1930s it was common for pitchers to rub baseballs with all sorts of substances to take the shine off the ball.   Blackburne found a source of mud close to home that he liked and used it.  Apparently it caught on, because soon he was supplying the entire American League with rubbing mud.   He refused to supply the National League until the 50s, apparently out of loyalty to the AL.  This is the same mud from the same source that is still used today on every major league baseball.  The location has been kept a secret, but if you are so inclined, you can go to the Lena Blackburne Rubbing Mud Website and learn more, or even order a can for yourself.  I have been very tempted to order some and incorporate it into the flower bed in our front yard.  (I’ve incorporated field turf from Razorback Stadium in my lawn, so why not some baseball mud in my flower garden?)     

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