Saturday, July 13, 2013
My oldest daughter now sighs and rolls her eyes (she's entering middle school this fall) when I ask her to pick out a few picture books at the library for us to read. However, she did snatch up Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball by David A. Kelly during our last visit. I am guessing that the fact that she plays softball herself made this title sound enticing.
Lena Blackburne wanted to be a famous baseball player, and by most people's standards the fact that he played in the Major Leagues for eight years would grant him that status. However, Lena's contribution to baseball was different than he ever could have imagined. Tired of soggy, stinky baseballs, he came up with the idea to rub some mud taken from the river near an old fishing hole he visited in New Jersey on his baseball. He brought the mud to the ball park and soon he was mixing up batches of mud for his teammates.
Today the muddy baseballs that Lena first introduced are still used, and the business of harvesting mud continues.
This story is simply told, with enough details to explain Lena's contribution to baseball, but also with short text that younger readers will be able to enjoy Miracle Mud. Author's notes at the end give more background about Lena and about the way in which his mud business has transformed the sport. I love this new-to-me story about the sport of baseball. I'll be adding this to my school library collection as well as my own.