There’s been something missing from baseball for the last decade and a half. With all of the new high tech stadiums and flash and polish some of the old charm is lost. For those of you that knew Max Patkin as the Clown Prince of baseball, no further introduction is needed. Max barnstormed across the country making guest appearances at many minor league parks. He would always get an opportunity to coach an inning and would bring the house down in the process.
I had the opportunity to see him at Beehive Stadium in New Britain, CT. I can’t tell you how much my family enjoyed his antics as he coached 1st base. How could we not love him – he even wore a Mets jersey (his number was a ‘?’). We got the chance to visit with him after the game and it was a real pleasure. He was an extremely funny and approachable individual and is sorely missed. Although my boys have vague recollections, they enjoy Max’s antics as they were captured in the classic baseball movie, Bull Durham.
Max was not the 1st Clown Prince of Baseball, and hopefully, he’s not the last. He stopped touring in 1995 and died at the age of 79 in 1999. He brought joy to both young and old. He was a product of simpler times when his clowning was the added entertainment at a game. He succeeded another famous holder of the throne, Al Schacht. But now with video arcades, restaurants, playgrounds, etc, a clown? Will there still a place for will there ever be a successor to the crown that Max wore proudly for about 5 decades?
I’d be interested in hearing from others and their experiences with Max. Let’s keep his memory and legacy alive. I’d recommend that anyone not familiar with Max that has not seen Bull Durham to take the opportunity to check him out. It’s a great baseball movie and captures Max in action.
As I wrote this I did a quick Google search and found, Myron Noodleman. It seems that there may be a contender for the throne in the wings. Although not recognized by the Hall of Fame, he was appointed by Mike Veeck, son of the famous baseball promoter Bill Veeck, in 2004. I see that he is scheduled to visit the New Britain Rock Cats on August 11. I’ll have to try to check it out, schedule permitting and provide my assessment (for what it’s worth). Has anyone seen him?
I’d be interested in hearing from anyone that has seen both Max and Myron and can compare and contrast the two. Is there a successor to Max Patkin’s crown?