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Cover for The Funniest Man in Baseball

The Funniest Man in Baseball

The True Story of Max Patkin

Audrey Vernick, Jennifer Bower (Illustrator)


List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


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.

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

"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     —

Clarion Books, 9780544813779, 40pp.

Publication Date: April 3, 2018

About the Author

Audrey Vernick is author of several novels and many picture books, including Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team. She lives with her family near the ocean in New Jersey. Visit her online at and on Twitter @yourbuffalo.

Jennifer Bower is the illustrator of The Funniest Man in Baseball, her picture book debut, and the Chime Travelers chapter book series, and has done illustration work for Highlights Magazine, among others. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @jennbower.