The Dirt on Baseball Traditions
by Isaac Casey, age 9
In 1920 a baseball pitcher accidentally killed a batter with a wild ball because he couldn't get a proper grip on the ball. The players tried using shoe polish and tobacco juice on the baseball but it wasn’t sticky enough.
So “Lena” Blackbune, a baseball player and coach R.A., put a feldspar-rich clay from New Jersey on the ball. Soon this remedy became a major part of baseball and in 1968 it became a part of the Hall of Fame.
To this day, baseball teams across the country use this clay. Before the season, the company collects the mud and distributes it in two, three-pound vats for each team to last them the whole season.
[Source: National Geographic]