Did you know that the first organized baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1846? Or that the Garden State currently has five professional minor league baseball teams, including Somerset County’s own Somerset Patriots Baseball?
Explore the history of baseball virtually with the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ) and author and baseball enthusiast Jason Love on July 30 at 7 p.m. During the presentation Love will delve into the past, present, and future of baseball in New Jersey.
“Baseball, more than any other sport is attached to its history,” said Love. “It cuts across all religions, nationalities, races, ethnicities, and ages. It has truly become an international game. The sport has some larger than life figures within the last 100 years or so. You can mention the names Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Pete Rose and even non-baseball fans will know who they are.”
Love’s recent book “A Visit to New Jersey’s Minor League Ballparks” was inspired by his travels to various ballparks as well as classic baseball books including “The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It” by Lawrence S. Ritter.
“I really enjoy baseball books and also books about travel,” he said. “I wanted to share the joy of New Jersey’s minor league ballparks with people.”
He conducted his research by visiting ballparks and utilizing various library resources including newspapers and journals. One of his favorite obscure facts is the use of mud in the game.
“Major and Minor League Baseball use a rubbing mud on every baseball used in a game,” said Love. “This mud takes some of the gloss off a new ball so the pitcher can grip it better. The rubbing mud is called Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud and has been used for more than 75 years now. This special mud is pulled from the Delaware River along the banks in New Jersey. The exact spot is a secret, but it is near Delran or Riverside. The recipe is a secret, too.”
“According to Bernard Malamud in his novel ‘The Natural,’ ‘The whole history of baseball has the quality of mythology,’” said Darryl Voorhees, manager of adult services programming and collaborations, public services. “The truth in this statement explains why our national pastime is often the backdrop for making personal connections and memories. I’m excited that SCLSNJ is celebrating New Jersey’s historic connections to the game, including an exploration of one of our community partners, the Somerset Patriots!”
#ExploreFromHome and discover the history of baseball in New Jersey:
Meet the Author: Jason Love
- July 30, 7-8 p.m. For more information: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/4362527.
Love was born in Camden, New Jersey. He has a history degree from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He currently works for Rutgers University-Camden and is a baseball enthusiast.