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What kind of mud is rubbed on MLB balls?

Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks
Houston Astros v Arizona Diamondbacks

Official MLB baseballs are an iconic symbol of American sports. Every significant moment in the game's history has a baseball related to it. The ball that Aaron Judge hit for his 62nd home run is worth an estimated $1 million.

These small little objects have so much cache, not only for players but for fans all over the world, that millions flock to ballparks every year in the hopes of catching a souvenir from the game.

According to Business Insider, the process starts with a four-inch wide cork sphere, which is cased in rubber and treated with a latex adhesive. The pill is then spun with yarn several times, increasing the diameter. This allows for the ball to take a beating from bats, gloves, and the ground.

Following the treatment of the pill, the ball is then fitted with leather covers, which are then sewn by hand. Each ball has 108 stitches; the fault where the stitching goes is known as the seam. Baseballs are then stamped with the league's logo and the commissioner of the league's signature.

Although the balls used to be produced by Spalding in the USA, they are now produced by Rawlings in the town of Turrialba, Costa Rica.

Every single MLB baseball is rubbed in Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, a unique "very fine" mud only found in a secret location near Palmyra, New Jersey.#Yankees #RepBX https://t.co/fzToaLYGLR
"Every single MLB baseball is rubbed in Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, a unique "very fine" mud only found in a secret location near Palmyra, New Jersey." - @ Bronx Zoo NYY

Following production, the balls are coated in mud. Joe Bintliff, also known as the "mud man", collects mud from the New Jersey bank of the Delaware river and uses it to coat about 240,000 balls every single season. The mud is from a company named Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, which has been in Blintliff's family for three generations.

The mud itself gets its namesake from legend Lena Blackburne, who began his career with the Chicago White Sox back in 1910. He was the first to use the mud to get a better grip on the balls he pitched. To this day, this special mud is the only foreign substance allowed on baseballs.

Lena Blackburne`s Baseball Rubbing Mud With every professional baseball league and team using Lena Blackburne rubbing mud, it’s easy to forget that the man himself was a MLB player.Broke in with Comiskeyβ€˜s White Sox in `10 and spent 6 of his 8 MLB seasons in Chicago. https://t.co/luMhtrXYBB
"Lena Blackburne`s Baseball Rubbing Mud. With every professional baseball league and team using Lena Blackburne rubbing mud, it’s easy to forget that the man himself was a MLB player. Broke in with Comiskeyβ€˜s White Sox in `10 and spent 6 of his 8 MLB seasons in Chicago." - @ Jim Koenigsburger"

Official MLB baseballs, from the factory to field

Each team has a minimum of 156 official MLB baseballs on hand to commence every game. That means that in a typical game between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, well over 300 balls could be available. No wonder MLB is happy to let fans take the ball if they catch one.

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Edited by Krutik Jain
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