Sunday, October 7, 2012

Remembering Max

Max Patkin at work (c) John Ashley
Max Patkin at work (c) John Ashley
If you're an old codger like me - and you remember when baseball was more like a game and less like a business - then you might remember Max Patkin. If not, then you missed a special one.

Max was a mediocre minor league pitcher who morphed into a baseball clown. When Joe DiMaggio hit a home run off of him in 1944, a frustrated Max ran around the bases behind Joe - much to the crowd's delight. Max was soon barnstorming the country as the "Clown Prince of Baseball." He appeared at more than 4,000 mostly small-town minor league games, finally retiring in 1995 at the age of 75. He passed away four years later.

Max made a brief, cameo appearance as himself in the baseball movie, "Bull Durham." I didn't know who he was at the time, but I got to watch Max in action once in the mid-1980's when he made a surprise appearance at a high school baseball game that I was photographing. In just a few innings, Max made an impression on me that still remains after 30 some-odd years.

Digging around, I found two videos about Max. The first one shows some of his antics and the second one is an interview. Enjoy.

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