The Funniest Man in Baseball: The True Story of Max Patkin

Audrey Vernick (Author) Jennifer Bower (Illustrator)


A hilarious picture book biography about Max Patkin, a professional ballplayer turned legendary baseball clown, from the author of the acclaimed Brothers at Bat and other baseball nonfiction.

Max Patkin was pitching in the minor leagues when he was injured and had to leave his dreams behind. He joined the Navy and eventually was able to play again while in the military . . . and this time he got to pitch against superstar Joe DiMaggio. When Joe hit one of Max's throws out of the park, Max threw down his glove, left the mound, and chased Joe around the bases, making faces and imitating his every move. The crowd loved it And a baseball clown was born.

This inspiring and comical biography carries an important message: Life doesn't always turn out exactly as you hope . . . but moving in a new direction can sometimes bring happy surprises.

Product Details

Clarion Books
Publish Date
April 03, 2018
8.5 X 0.4 X 11.0 inches | 0.95 pounds

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About the Author

Many of Audrey Vernick's books are about baseball in one way or another, including her acclaimed picture book Brothers at Bat. An avid fan, she lives near the ocean in New Jersey.

Jennifer Bower is an illustrator living in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Funniest Man in Baseball is her picture book debut.


"Vernick has hit another home run with this enjoyable account of baseball clown Max Patkin."--School Library Journal

A loving homage to the last baseball clown."--Kirkus

"Vernick writes in energetic prose that is well matched to debut illustrator Bower's cartoons, which depict Patkin's exaggerated movements and clownlike expressions on and off the field."--Publishers Weekly

"He's a jolly subject, and Vernick's lively text gives him full due."--Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books