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The funniest man in baseball : the true story of Max Patkin
2018
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Large Cover Image
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  Publishers Weekly Review

Growing up, Max Patkin had big baseball dreams, but was also "a funny guy, a goofy guy, always looking for a laugh." In this picture book biography, Vernick (Brothers at Bat) details Patkin's brief career as a ballplayer, first in the minor leagues and then with a team of enlisted players during WWII. During one game, he pitches against, then pokes fun at Joe DiMaggio, earning a reputation as a jokester in the process. A shoulder injury forces Patkin to retire from the game, but his talents as an entertainer land him an official role as a "baseball clown" and performer in the big leagues. 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. Readers learn little about Patkin's personal life, though a quote from Patkin provides insight into how he felt about the unconventional role he filled: "In my heart I would have rather been a big-league baseball player. But then I'd have never made so many people happy." An author's note includes photographs and additional insight into Patkin's life and outsize personality. Ages 6-9. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Summary
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. <br> <br> 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.<br> <br> 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.
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