Sunday, December 5, 2010

WSC Vintage: Lena Blackburne

Card #27 - Lena Blackburne

Lena began his MLB career in 1910, as a shortstop for the Chicago White Sox. In 75 games, he hit a low .174. He next appeared in five games in 1912 for the Sox, hitting .000. Blackburne spent 1913 with AA Milwaukee, but returned in 1914 to the Sox to play in 144 games. Lena lasted through the 1915 season with the White Sox, hitting no higher than .222, in any given year up to that point.

Blackburne skipped around between the minors, Cincinatti, the Braves and the Phillies until the end of the 1919 season. He spent the next seven seasons shuffling around the minors until the end of the 1926 season. He became a coach for the Sox in 1927. Fate stepped in, on June 28, 1927, as Lena was put into the game for the White Sox, where he helped the Pale Hose rally past the Indians in the ninth inning. Blackburne would eventually become the manager of the White Sox in 1928, a position he held until 1929.

Lena, who was an infielder his entire career, entered the game on June 5, 1929, as a pitcher and pitched to one batter, giving up a hit to a Red Sox batter. This came in the eighth inning, at Fenway Park, after the Red Sox were up by fifteen runs.

Perhaps Lena Blackburne's greatest achievement was finding and selling rubbing mud to MLB clubs, starting in the late thirties. It is the same mud that is still used to this day to rub down each baseball. Not bad for a career .214 hitter nicknamed Slats.

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