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Blackburn was an infielder nineteen years (1936–56), all in the minor leagues, losing one year to military service and one year to inactivity. Blackburn drew over 1400 walks in 2016 minor league games. From 1948–56, he had 715 hits and 742 walks in 711 games. He led the 1936 KITTY League with 124 runs, the 1943 American Association with 114 runs, and the 1951 KITTY with 116 runs. He also led the 1948 Southern Association with 36 SB.
Blackburn was briefly a player-manager at the end of the season in 1937 for the Peoria Reds of the Three-I League. Blackburn truly began his managerial career in 1951 with the Owensboro Oilers. He moved to the Detroit Tigers farm system, where he was a player-manager in the minors (1952–54, 1956), minor league manager (1958, 1965–66, 1968) and major league coach (1963–64). From 1968-1969, Wayne coached the Panamanian baseball team in the Caribbean Series while living in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with his children and wife.
His Kinston Eagles had the best record in the 1952 Coastal Plain League, as did the Augusta Tigers of the South Atlantic League he took over in mid-1958. His teams also lost in the playoffs in 1953 and 1954.
Blackburn scouted for the Detroit Tigers into at least the mid-1980s.
He married Jeanne Anderson on October 14, 1939. Together, they had six children: Joan Blackburn, Michael Blackburn, Rebecca Blackburn, Kevin Blackburn, Linda Marie Blackburn, and Timothy Blackburn. He served in the U.S. Army as a TEC 4 during World War II (1945). He died at age 86 at Hillview Retirement Center in Portsmouth, Ohio and is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth, Ohio. His legacy lives on through his contribution to Portsmouth, Ohio's baseball history, and he is memorialized on the Portsmouth, Ohio floodwall.
Year-by-year managerial record
|1937||Peoria Reds||Three-I League||Cincinnati Reds||replaced Ben Tincup|
|1951||Owensboro Oilers||KITTY League||71-48||2nd||none||Lost League Finals|
|1952||Kinston Eagles||Coastal Plain League||76-47||1st||Detroit Tigers||Lost in 1st round|
|1953||Wausau Timberjacks||Wisconsin State League||76-49||2nd||Detroit Tigers||Lost League Finals|
|1954||Jamestown Falcons||PONY League||Detroit Tigers||replaced Danny Litwhiler|
|1956||Jamestown Falcons||PONY League||Detroit Tigers||replaced Don Lund|
|1958||Augusta Tigers||South Atlantic League||Detroit Tigers||replaced Stan Charnofsky|
|1965||Montgomery Rebels||Southern League||63-74||6th||Detroit Tigers|
|1966||Montgomery Rebels||Southern League||66-72||5th||Detroit Tigers|
|1968||GCL Tigers||Gulf Coast League||27-36||7th||Detroit Tigers||none|
- For a full Bibliography from SABR's The Baseball Index (TBI)
- BR bullpen
- Gaunt, Robert (1997). We Would Have Played Forever: The Story of the Coastal Plain Baseball League. Baseball America, Inc. ISBN 0-945164-02-5.
- The Professional Baseball Players Database 5.0
- All-time Tiger coaches
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