Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball” as Want to Read:
Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball

by
3.98  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Lena Blackburne loved baseball. He watched it, he played it, he coached it. But he didn't love the ways players broke in new baseballs. Tired of soggy, blackened, stinky baseballs, he found a better way. Thanks to a well-timed fishing trip and a top-secret mud recipe, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud was born. For seventy-five years, baseball teams have used Lena's mag ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Millbrook Press (Tm) (first published January 1st 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Miracle Mud, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Miracle Mud

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  362 ratings  ·  74 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball
Tammi Peterman
This is a primary picture book for independent reading.

I selected this book because of the students interest in sports and especially baseball. I think the student would be intrigued by the title and bold graphics on the cover and throughout the book. The student indicated in his interest inventory the he was interested in presidents which shows me that he has some interest in history so I hope to draw upon that and peak his interest in other historical non-fiction texts. This book presents the
...more
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Lexile Level/Age Level: 480L; Ages 7-11

Pages: 32 pages

Summary:
Lena Blackburne only dream was to be a great baseball player. He played for many teams and played many positions, but was never a good baseball player, so he became a baseball coach. While he was a coach, he found a big problem, the baseballs were too soggy. Blackburne did some experimentation. He found out that if you took mud and rubbed it over shiny new baseballs and let the mud dry, you could wipe the dried mud off easily with a t
...more
Lynn
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
The title alone will attract readers! The text packs a punch, full of details but done simply to explain the background of how mud came to be important to major league baseball. Even those who aren't baseball fans will find this an interesting angle on the sport.
The variety of views, some closeup, like the cover, broad background, and some with far away views, help the reader see the big picture. It would also be fun to examine the ads around the outfield. The end pages give readers more images
...more
Carol
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lena Blackburne wanted to be a famous ballplayer. He tried playing every position for many different teams, but he just wasn't good enough. Although Lena Blackburne was not a star baseball player, he loved everything about the game. After he retired he stayed close to the game and found somewhere he could help out. Before a game, the baseballs would be prepped so they weren't as slick. However, the methods being used caused the balls to be soft, soggy, sticky or stinky. Nobody liked this and it ...more
Erin
A short, snappy read aloud about baseball and mud. My preschooler loved it. So what’s not to like?

I’ll tell you: (view spoiler)
...more
Christine Turner

Lena Blackburne loved baseball. He watched it, he played it, he coached it. But he didn't love the ways players broke in new baseballs. Tired of soggy, blackened, stinky baseballs, he found a better way. Thanks to a well-timed fishing trip and a top-secret mud recipe, Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud was born. For seventy five years, baseball teams have used Lena's magic mud to prepare baseballs before every game. Read the story of how Lena's mud went from a riverbank to the major leagues an
...more
Sara
Oct 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
For someone who does not really enjoy nonfiction books, this was a pretty enjoyable read! "Miracle Mud" by David A. Kelly is the story about Lena Blackburne. Lena was a baseball lover and had high hopes of being a great baseball player. When he was unable to achieve those goals, he became a coach. While coaching, Lena and an umpire had a discussion on how the baseballs were not made to help the players succeed. They were too soggy, and players tried many different things to make the balls work i ...more
Samantha
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This baseball book introduces readers to a man who played a big part in baseball history, though not for his feats on the field. Lena Blackburne was a decent player, but not one that would be remembered like Babe Ruth etc. His greatest contribution to the game he loved was harvesting mud that could be used on new balls to break them in a bit and cut down on the shine and stiffness of the leather.

The writing style is very well done. The author presents a problem and spends most of the book spotl
...more
Barbara
Although Lena Blackburne longed to be a great baseball player, he was just good to play Major League Baseball for various teams but not good enough to gain much fame. After a chance conversation with an umpire about soggy baseballs, he happened upon some mud near a New Jersey river that would make the balls less shiny. I found this footnote on baseball's history quite interesting since the mud made it to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The back matter includes more information on baseball mud and its ...more
Jackie
HA! This book reminds me of the recent conversation I just had with my 25-year-old son on some of the little known facts about baseball, namely how the team has to get hundreds of baseballs "baseball-ready" before each game. Who knew?

Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburne and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball is full of interesting baseball facts, but especially intriguing is the discovery of the mud that scuffs up the baseballs before each game. Blackburne, a Chicago White Sox player in the early par
...more
Jen
Mar 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-winners
Lena Blackburne only dream was to be a great baseball player. He played for many teams and played many positions, but was never a good baseball player, so he became a baseball coach. While he was a coach, he found a big problem, the baseballs were too soggy. Blackburne did some experimentation. He found out that if you took mud and rubbed it over shiny new baseballs and let the mud dry, you could wipe the dried mud off easily with a towel and you were left with a baseball that was just right. Bl ...more
Tracy
Jul 18, 2014 rated it liked it
Lena is not the best baseball player, but he is a problem solver. Back when he played baseball, all the teams had a problem, the brand new baseballs were too shiny. They tried to use tobacco juice, shoe polish and dirty water to make the baseballs loose their shine, but nothing works. Lena found some mud while fishing that he tried on the baseballs. It would go on wet and then dry, so the balls weren't soggy. Everntually, Lena made it into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not as a baseball player, ...more
Liz
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another to add to my baseball collection. Love baseball! Love knowing the story behind the players, especially about great players from the past. Blackburne was not considered a "great player" but his discovery of the mud that is rubbed onto new baseballs to take away the white, glossy shine, is pretty interesting to know about! Nice end pages, good author's note, and a thank you to the current owner of Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud for sharing his knowledge. Can't wait to test some of my ...more
Julie Williams
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was about Lena Blackburne who "found" a mud that is used on baseballs. New baseballs are "too shiny and slick". Baseball players in the past tried many ways to get rid of the shine - soaking them in water, spitting on them, and shoe polish but all of these had drawbacks. One day Lena was fishing and stepped in some mud. He found that the mud could be used to get the shine off but didn't ruin the balls. Lena's mud is now used all the time and even has a display in the Baseball Hall of F ...more
Vernon Area Public Library KIDS
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Grades 2-4
Shelves: nonfiction
Got mud? Major League Baseball does! In this picture book for older readers, find out how, in the 1930s, Lena Blackburne discovered a “secret ingredient” to give pitchers an easier grip on their baseball. Blackburne’s idea of using mud on baseballs was so successful that the major leagues use it even today. Kids who love baseball and are looking for an interesting, historical read about inventors should check this one out! Recommended for grades 2-4.

Reviewed by: Miss Alyson, Youth Services, Vern
...more
Matthew
This is a great read for baseball fans, young and old. It's about the man, Lena Blackburne, who discovered the secrets of Delaware River mud in preparing baseballs for game play. It's a short book, but it does a good job of clarifying what baseball was like before the discovery of the mud's effects on baseballs, and without the mud baseball was gross. It also gives background on who Lena Blackburne was before his discovery, and what his legacy came to be afterwards. Good book, short and sweet, w ...more
Laura
Oct 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
New baseballs are shiny, smooth, and very difficult to hit. Players used to soak the balls in water, spit on them, or use shoe polish to make them easier to throw and hit. A former player and coach, Lena Blackburne, discovered that a little bit of mud makes takes the gloss off the ball and makes them easier for batters to hit.

The text of this story is simple and clear. Perfect spring reading for kindergarten and 1st grade!
Michele Knott
2015 Monarch nominee
I had never heard this story before - apparently new baseballs have a gloss on them which makes them slippery for pitchers to use and hard to see for the batters. Lena Blackburne is the former major league baseball player and coach to have discovered the special mud that is used to cover the baseballs. It takes the glossy sheen off and helps the batters and pitchers. Great author's notes at the end to fill in some holes.
...more
Pamela
Jul 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Simple text tells story of Lena Blackburne who loved baseball but didn't play well enough to be famous. However, he contributed to the game by figuring out how to make a shiny new baseball into a good useable game ball with the use of some hometown mud. I would give this to second- and third-grade boys who love sports but still struggle to read. Contains author's note. ...more
H
Mar 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015-monarch
Every year the Monarch committee picks a baseball nonfiction offering it seems. Is that the only nonfiction being offered for K-3? As much as I love baseball, I'd love to see something else. Anyway, this is the story of the guy who came up with the idea to rub big league baseballs with a special mud he found in his pond. It's fine. ...more
Kelsey Gourd
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lena Blackburne's story is one of perseverance and growth mindset. When he wasn't good at baseball, he found another way to significantly impact the empire of baseball! Cute story! Would be good to use as an introduction to invention unit, mindset discussions, or for kids who like baseball. It's a great hook. ...more
Melanie Swider Wenz
Loved learning about the mud that major league baseballs are dipped in - never knew that! This book will interest and surprise students - author's note gives detailed information about the mud and the baseball regulations in major leagues. ...more
Christine
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book taught me about an aspect of baseball that I was never familiar with before. Lena Blackburne may not have been a star player, but his was included in the Baseball Hall of Fame and is used by players and teams to this day. Great read for baseball enthusiasts of all ages.
Leslie
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Young baseball fans will enjoy this interesting true story of a special mud they put on baseballs to prepare them for games. First discovered in the 1930s, the mud is still secretly "harvested" today. ...more
Michele Cousens
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An interesting read for your young baseball enthusiast. I never knew that before all the major league games that the balls were covered in miracle mud to get rid of the shine. Lena Blackburne was the man responsible for this find. His miracle mud made it into the Hall of Fame in 1969.
Joyce
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Cheers for great nonfiction books for younger readers! This is a great book that can be read aloud or alone. It has gorgeous illustrations and simple but informative text. A solid common core book and a fun book to share.
Cat.
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book about how baseballs are de-newed with the use of special mud that's been used for 75 years. For someone who cares little about baseball, this was still a fun read, and the pictures are wonderful. ...more
Tara
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book tells the story of Lena Blackburne and the origin of his baseball rubbing mud. This is an interesting bit of baseball history that no one in my sports loving family had ever heard. The illustrations are fantastic and the book is suitable for a wide range of ages.
Kristi Bell
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
This picture book has great illustrations and a great story about a little known fact (that I didn't know) about baseball. Lena was a problem solver and eventually ended up in the Baseball Hall of Fame. ...more
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Interesting little piece of baseball history.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The One and Only Bob
  • Ride On, Will Cody!: A Legend of the Pony Express
  • They Called Us Enemy
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
  • One Cool Friend
  • That Cat Can't Stay
  • Chicken Big
  • The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
  • Hooway for Wodney Wat
  • A Boy and a Jaguar
  • You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Fables to Read Together
  • Never Smile at a Monkey: And 17 Other Important Things to Remember
  • Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature
  • Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas
  • Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude
  • 11 Experiments That Failed
  • Families, Families, Families!
  • Breaking News: Bear Alert
See similar books…
45 followers
David A. Kelly is an established book, magazine, and newspaper writer who has written for a wide variety of outlets, including: Author, Babe Ruth and the Baseball Curse, Random House, Spring, 2009, Ballpark Mystery Series, Random House, Spring, 2011; Contributor, The New York Times "Practical Guide to Practically Everything";- Travel writer, New York Times, Boston Globe, New York Post, Chicago Sun ...more

Related Articles

Happy Women's History Month! One of the undisputedly good things about modern scholarship is that women’s history is finally getting its due....
116 likes · 20 comments