ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— Eric Krupa, president of the South Atlantic League, has announced the members of the Class of 2013 for the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame. The two new inductees will be honored as part of the festivities surrounding the 54th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game, scheduled to be played on June 18 at FirstEnergy Park, home of the Lakewood BlueClaws.
This year's class certainly has a New Jersey flavor, and includes an elected official and the person who discovered a very specialized product used in every professional baseball game. New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer will be inducted along with Lena Blackburne, whose famous baseball rubbing mud is taken from a riverbank somewhere in New Jersey.
Senator Robert W. Singer has served in the New Jersey State Legislature for over 20 years as well as on the Lakewood Township Committee for over 30 years. His leadership helped lure the Lakewood BlueClaws to New Jersey in 2001, and the success of the franchise would not have been possible without his steadfast support. His vision of a successful franchise has been fulfilled as the BlueClaws have led the South Atlantic League in average attendance in each of its 12 years in Lakewood.
Lena Blackburne's solution to preparing baseballs for a game by rubbing them with mud to dull the shine without softening the cover has been used by Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball teams for nearly 75 years. Located somewhere in New Jersey, the actual source of the mud has been a well-guarded secret. Blackburne, a coach for the Philadelphia Athletics at the time, came up with the idea to use the mud in 1938. The mud did not scratch the baseballs, and it had no odor. Soon thereafter, every MLB team was using it. Its use then spread throughout the Minor Leagues, and has been used in every Minor League Baseball game for many years. Jim Bintliff, President of Lena Blackburne Baseball, will accept the honor on behalf of Lena Blackburne.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony is one of several events scheduled in conjunction with the 54th SAL All-Star Game in Lakewood. Fan Fest and a Celebrity Hitting Challenge will be held on Monday, June 17. The 54th Annual South Atlantic League All-Star Game at FirstEnergy Park on June 18 is scheduled to begin at 7:05 p.m. More information can be found at www.blueclaws.com/allstar.